What is E-Mentoring?
E-mentoring (sometimes referred to as electronic mentoring, digital mentoring, online mentoring or computer assisted mentoring) includes any type of mentoring that incorporates a digital technology. E-mentoring requires the use of some form of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and can include sending emails between a mentor and mentee, texting using cell phones, chatting using a messenger program or social media, video conferencing (such as through Zoom, FaceTime, or another video call platform), and posting messages to digital bulletin boards or forums.
What Technology is needed for E-Mentoring?
E-mentoring programs often use email, bulletin boards or forums, chat features, or other text-based communication methods. Some use video conferencing platforms (e.g., FaceTime or Google Hangouts), while others use proprietary software systems that combine many of these features, along with providing customized content such as suggestions for match activities that are integrated into a single-user platform.
When Does E-Mentoring take place?
E-mentoring is unique in that the interaction between mentors and mentees can be synchronous, such as when interacting via a video call or chat program, or the communication can be asynchronous, such as through the use of emails or forums where there may be a significant lag between sending and receiving messages. In fact, some programs do not even have scheduled meeting times, allowing mentors and youth to communicate any time they wish. Others, however, have interactions that take place at regularly scheduled times. E-mentoring programs are also unique in that they provide the flexibility of match meetings occurring entirely through technology or including some in-person contacts between the mentor and mentee along with technology-assisted interactions.
What are the Goals of E-Mentoring?
E-Mentoring programs often have similar program goals to that of traditional in-person mentoring. E-mentoring provides an opportunity for regular meetings without physical barriers, and these programs allow them an opportunity to connect with mentors and pursue goals that might have otherwise been unattainable.