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does e-mentoring work ?

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There's lots of stuff around about e-learning but what about mentoring on line ? Has anyone got any experience of it or know any good references on it ?
Frances Storr

13 Responses

  1. eMentoring works!!
    eMentoring works very well if implemented via a well structured Knowledge Management System allied with a user structured portal. Ant training programme need a realtime escape when a lerener is lost confused or just plain bored. I have several very good examples of eMentoring in action at both large and small business communities. Email for more info.

    Gary Lake

  2. Learner Satisfaction
    I am presently working on a project to recruit online tutors and mentors. In our own research we have found that rentention rates and learner satisfaction have been greatly improved by the existence of an online mentor/facilitator to guide them through any difficulties and to setup the ‘learning environment’, ie conference boards & chat areas. As an online learner myself, it is a great relief to know there is always someone to ask in even the most ‘self-learn’ of the self learn courses!

  3. e-Mentoring
    Frances, I have led a team of e-mentors for the last three years, and feel I can bring a little experience to bear.

    Yes, e-mentoring does work, but how well depends on a lot of factors – the technology your mentors use, the extent to which people have bought into e-learning, the amount of synchronous content, to name but a few. Is there any particular aspect you’re wondering about?

  4. Mentor, Coach or Moderator?
    Tris beat me to to it with the Gilly Salmon reference but I then wondered if we’re talking about the same or different thing…Gilly Salmon in particular is describing the more facilitative role (arguably founded in constructivist principles of learning) but isn’t a mentor the expert role? Don’t they have expertise, experience, knowledge and skill to pass on? (1500 words – Discuss)

  5. e-mentoring does work – but it’s not for everyone!
    I have been tutoring online for more than 3 years. Some advice, based on my own experience: you must set up reliable communication lines with your trainee and try and establish a good rapport from the outset. Give positive feedback frequently; don’t allow them to feel isolated; try to get your personality to come through in your communications; motivate them when necessary (which is often – because “out of sight – out of mind”). I have references too if you want to e-mail me.

  6. Some benefits of e-mentoring
    When I was doing my research into mentoring relationships I had an interesting discussion with Belle Rose Ragins from the USA – a major contributor to research in the area – she proposed some thought provoking issues when mentoring happens by e. For instance if you never meet the person or speak over the phone you may be free of bias and stereotyping influences which occur when you speak and meet. What if the mentor does not even disclose their gender, colour, race, appearance, age etc?
    It was of interest to her as her research addresses many issues around mentoring and stereotyping and the influence of gender on mentoring relationships and subsequent success.
    I have a major literature review and annotated bibliography (150 plus articles/books) on my research into mentoring appearing in the library section soon for anyone who is that way inclined.

  7. Making e-mentoring work
    Frances (and others),

    I’m enjoying this discussion thread – lots of useful ideas and reminders. Here’s a few more to add in:

  8. I agree with Richard Hale – there are some people who will respond better to online mentoring simply because they feel under less pressure. They can respond in their own time and in their own way. They can control the pace better. Of course, many will still prefer face-to-face, but as with any form of learning, its helpful to understand learning styles and preferences in order to match to methods. Online mentoring is only just another tool – to be used when appropriate.
  9. From the mentee’s perspective, the critical factor is their trust in the mentor. So how does the effective mentor set about establishing that trust? e.g. disclosure of information about themselves, availability offline as well, quick responses, demonstrating their sensitivity … Online mentors need to think this one through.
  10. And not all mentoring need necessarily be one-to-one. Many online participants will also welcome the support and diversity of a group online event – using text chat or online conferencing software – where the focus is less direct and personal

    Tim Pickles
    Founder, TrainingZONE

  • when is a mentor not a mentor?
    Clive Hook (28 Nov) raised an interesting and so-far unanswered question – in effect, when is a mentor not a mentor? I.E., is “mentor” defined as “expert”? Is this a generally-accepted definition? Is the “coach” therefore the enabler rather than the “expert”?

  • Recruiting on-line
    We’re looking at e-mentoring as a means of additional support for our Fellows (individuals who have received a grant to complete a project that will benefit thier community). We’re considering recruiting on-line – does anyone have experience of this or has everyone used face-to-face methods to get mentors and pairs started/ trained etc?

  • The five learnign keys are a great way to kick off mentoring rel
    Thanks e veryone for the discussion on htis. I’ve found your responses really useful.
    Moya, I have an approach I use to get mentoring pairs started (ie mentor and mentee). I’ve done it face to face but whose to say it wouldn’t work online as well !
    I use the five learnign keys, which are: purpses; varaibles; problems; comparisons; imagine. So what ti would mean is asking both partners together to answer the following questions:
    What are all the purposes of this mentoring relaitonship?
    What are the variables ie what are teh factors that will affect how well it works?
    What are all the possible problems? and for each problem, what should we do if that happens?
    What else is this mentoring relaitonship like? and for each answer, How is it similar and how is it different?
    and lastly, “Imagine” key ie what does it look like form the point of view of …. and pick some significant people and look at it through their eyes.
    It’s all as simple as it sounds and it’s really powerful for opening the whole thing up and starting off with a shared understanding.

  • E-mentoring for disabled people
    Does anyone have experience of e-mentoring for disabled people? I’d be really interested to hear of experiences, advice, contacts, curent projects or initiatives that anyone may have or know of. Also, what aspects of an e-mentoring programme for those with disabilities are distinct from more generic e-mentoring programmes.

    Many thanks.

    Justine Kilkerr

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