Digital mentoring means cooperation between two or more people in which the parties wish to develop their skills in a shared area of interest and share their skills by utilising digital methods and tools in their interaction.

Digital Mentoring in eAMK

Undergraduate students at universities of applied sciences may be mentored by master’s degree students, alumni or representatives of working life. Various types of mentoring are utilised, including group and peer-to-peer mentoring and cross-mentoring, in which the participants come from different higher education institutions, organisations and sectors.

‘Internationally, eAMK is at the forefront in the research and development of digital mentoring. Researchers acknowledge that one of the future directions in mentoring research is the development of communal forms of mentoring in digital learning and operating environments for the new generation’s mentoring needs,’ says Principal Lecturer Irja Leppisaari from Centria.

We examined what kind of mentoring practices are employed in Finnish higher education and working-life to support continuous skill development, focusing especially on the working-life-centric digital mentoring of students.

The theme interviews of 11 higher education institutions and four enterprises were conducted as part of the eAMK project in autumn 2017 and early 2018. Eight different mentoring practices arose from the data. The first five correlate directly with the eAMK project’s digital mentoring action of working-life-centric student mentoring, a topic of particular interest, and the final three have an indirect link.

  1. Digital mentoring integrated in a course
  2. Digital mentoring as a course
  3. Mentoring integrated into education as a pedagogic solution
  4. Project-based mentoring programmes for HE students
  5. Alumni mentoring in a new way
  6. Digital mentors developing staff digital skills
  7. Develop and produce mentoring services for working-life
  8. Virtual mentoring programme for company staff

See more information: http://www.iadisportal.org/digital-library/exploring-emerging-mentoring-practices-in-new-ecosystems-of-learning-in-finland#

eMentoring training as a testbed

eMentoring training that particularly focuses on developing group mentoring meetings implemented as video conferences and a communal mentoring process built around these meetings is utilised as a testbed in the eAMK project.

Three sets of quality criteria for digital mentoring have been created from the student, HEI and working-life perspectives. These criteria tools are intended to assist teachers, instructors, mentoring practitioners and developers in the planning, implementation and assessment of high-quality digital mentoring implementations. The criteria can also be used for self-evaluation purposes and are free to use. 

Digital Quality Carpet

The digital quality carpet tool can be utilised in communal reflection, such as in planning intended learning outcomes and achieving them in continuous evaluation. It can also be applied to self-, peer and expert evaluation.

Publications about Digital Mentoring

Leppisaari, I. 2019. Exploring Emerging Mentoring Practices in New Ecosystems of Learning in Finland. In P. Kommers, T. Issa, P. Isaias & W. Hui (Eds.) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Educational Technologies 2019 (ICEduTech 2019) Hong Kong 8-10 February, 2019 (pp. 97-108). IADIS International Association for Development of the Information Society. Retrieved March 19, 2020 from http://www.iadisportal.org/digital-library/exploring-emerging-mentoring-practices-in-new-ecosystems-of-learning-in-finland.

Leppisaari, I. 2019. eGroup Mentoring – an Evolving Operational Model in New Ecosystems of Tertiary Learning. In K. Graziano (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1196-1206). Las Vegas, NV, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 15, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/207797/.

Leppisaari, I. 2019. Redefining quality criteria for mentoring in new digital learning environments. In Dominguez, N. & Neder, C.M., & Zaman, S. (Eds.) 12th Annual Mentoring Conference Proceedings: Towards the science of mentoring (pp. 246–251). Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico. Download as PDF.

More information about eGroup mentoring

Leppisaari, I. 2018. Exploring principles of successful eGroup mentoring on the interface of higher education and working life. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 27(4), 481-505. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved December 22, 2018 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/181340.

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