Over the course of the 2019, several of us at Cricket Media had the privilege to serve as working group members on MENTOR’sjust published paper on effective best practices for eMentoring. The report is a testament to the growth and tremendous potential for eMentoring.
In the report, Cricket Media’s eMentoring solutions, CricketTogether and TryEngineering Together are highlighted for their capabilities to help mentees build literacy and STEM skills. Additionally, several Cricket use cases are showcased as eMentoring best practice examples.
Beyond offering best practices, the report discusses:
- Reasons for eMentoring’s growing popularity
- Areas where eMentoring offers clear advantages over in-person models
- The ability for electronic relationships between mentors and youth to be satisfying, fun and imbued with personality, despite the limitations of communicating digitally.
Below are 9 key excerpts from the report, selected because they offer a glimpse into the immense potential for eMentoring to help children while providing a meaningful and enjoyable experience for adult mentors.
- Fits with our tech-connected society.
“This type of mentoring has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades with the now ubiquitous use of the internet, cell phones, and social media, especially among young people.”
“With technology playing an increasingly important role in everyone’s lives, these relationships and eMentoring models will continue to grow in importance and relevance in the mentoring field.”
- Offers advantages over in-person mentoring.
“… e-mentoring programs offer some clear advantages over in-person models and may, in theory, be better positioned to meet the needs of youth with specific challenges or in fostering different types of meaningful adult-youth interactions.”
- Connects over distance, safely.
“These diverse e-mentoring models can connect individuals literally a world apart and offer potentially greater and more frequent access to a variety of different types of mentors. They can also offer some youth safety and participant monitoring capabilities that go beyond what many in-person programs can offer.”
- Enables and encourages more frequent interaction between mentor and mentee.
“e-mentoring provides an opportunity for regular meetings without physical barriers.”
“The research was quite clear that programs should do everything they can to boost the frequency and depth of interactions that mentors and youth have. This frequency was closely tied to outcomes and overall satisfaction with the experience.”
- Has the capacity to reach isolated populations.
“that there is tremendous potential with e-mentoring that can also be brought out with strong program practices. These programs can offer both a volume of mentors and the delivery of “just-in-time” mentoring interactions that are frankly impossible to provide using in-person models. These programs can connect those who are isolated to a world of support and allow youth to get expert advice in ways that only digital communication allows.”
“Some youth, such as those in rural locations or of lower socioeconomic status, may benefit from e-mentoring more than youth who do not have difficulty accessing transportation or a more stable family setting.”
- Invites personal connection and growth
“There are many processes through which e-mentoring can facilitate positive gains or personal growth for youth
• Offsetting youth isolation and increasing feelings of belonging and connectedness.
• Providing access to high-level subject matter expertise and project/goal-setting support
• Increasing social support and feelings of self-efficacy…
• Many articles discussed how youth often felt more comfortable sharing online as opposed to in person.”
- Eliminates Status and Physical Barriers
“One of the leading factors in relationship closeness was what one researcher termed ‘electronic chemistry’ — the ability of mentors and youth to connect electronically in ways that were mutually satisfying, fun, and imbued with personality in spite of the limitations of communicating digitally. In fact, it was theorized that online relationships can often become what are called “hyper-relationships” where the closeness and satisfaction exceeds in-person relationships because status and other factors are stripped away in the virtual environment, and users can craft perfect responses that represent their best selves at all times.”
- Tailored to Needs of Young People
“Mentoring virtually is not only a fun and enjoyable experience, but that this type of mentoring is actually a preferred form of support that has many advantages over in-person mentoring, specifically for supporting the needs of the young people in the program.”
- Expands Reach
“One of the interesting features of e-mentoring programs is that they can have an easier time taking their service to scale, often across wide geographic areas, compared to in-person programs. The online technology platforms of these programs can often be implemented just about anywhere that has reliable internet access.”
To read the full report please visit MENTOR website at https://www.mentoring.org/ementoring/ or download it directly here.
About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the mentoring gap and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its Affiliates and works to drive the investment of time and money into high-impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research, and state-of-the-art tools.