Here is my response to George’s post on Tutor/Mentor Connection.
Hi George, I have been involved in Mentoring programs for years, have been a mentor in a professional mentoring program for a year, and am still providing mentoring within my organisation. I also found mentoring very effective in nurturing future leaders.
I have however found some challenges with mentoring in a networked learning environment. Mentoring does require the setting up of personal goals and personal learning and action plans in order for the mentoring to be “effective”. This should normally be aligned with the personal vision and mission of the mentee, and in the case of corporate business environment, an alignment with the corporate vision and mission, if ever possible is expected or required. So, in theory, mentoring works best with the collaboration of mentors and mentees, in both achieving the learning and performance goals negotiated and agreed upon in the mentoring process. However, in a networked learning environment where learner autonomy could be more important than anything else, it would be necessary to make the necessary adjustment in the mentoring relationship that would be based on the mentee’s needs, rather than alignment with any corporate goals or vision, as that might intervene or jeopardize with the personal goals of the mentees. So, mentoring may be more effective in achieving personal learning goals rather than organisational goals.
Also, the matching of mentors and mentees is a critical factor which could determine the success of a mentoring program, as the relationship established between the mentor and mentee would greatly impact on the outcome of the mentoring. Personal learning style, personality of the mentors and mentees would also be important consideration in the mentoring matching.
The use of Web 2.0 and social networks could be important platforms for e-mentoring be designed and implemented. There are also implications such as the skills and literacy gaps between the mentors and mentees. The concept of zone of proximal development is important here.
Would mentoring be more successful and sustainable under a group (organisation) or networked learning environment? How would one ensure that such a mentoring program could deliver the outcome expected by the mentee?
More researches may be necessary to understand the impact and implications of e-mentoring in social networks and online education and learning.