E-mentoring highly effective: studyJuly 2nd, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, July 2 (IANS) E-mentoring has been found to be more convenient, more direct and better than face-to-face mentoring, according to a study. “E-mail-based communication is almost instant and helps overcome one of the major obstacles to traditional mentoring - participants finding a suitable time to meet,” said Kim Rickard of Victoria University, who conducted the study.
By using e-mail, participants can go straight to the issues without the need to engage in “polite conversation” beforehand, the study found, ScienceDaily reports.
It also provides a forum that allows for “fairly sophisticated” exchanges between participants, which improves the chances of higher learning.
Rickard said the personal e-mail has been shown to have characteristics that foster relationship development.
“The mentored, especially, look forward to receiving e-mails from their mentors. The research showed that frequent interactions were important in determining the quality of the mentoring relationship,” she said.
Rickard’s study involved a detailed analysis of 20 mentored and five mentors participating in a e-mentoring network.
The network is a professional development initiative of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia.
“The aim was to find out what works and what doesn’t, so we could develop a framework to evaluate e-mentoring programmes,” said Rickard.
“For example, we found that the process of goal-setting is important because it gets people thinking about what their needs are and how they can be met within and beyond the e-mentoring programme.”
Rickard believed that as access to broadband and web-camera technology increases, future e-mentoring programmes will have the option of enabling face-to-face contact in virtual space.
She said: “E-mentoring is being used to link people on the basis of professional need rather than geographic location, which makes it of huge benefit to a range of industries.”
Tags: association of professional engineers, camera technology, e mail, frequent interactions, geographic location, goal setting, higher learning, mentoring network, mentors, obstacles, participants, polite conversation, professional development initiative, professional need, relationship development, rickard, suitable time, victoria university, virtual space, web camera