III module. What are the benefits and challenges of e-Mentoring?

If you are participating in the blended mentoring on employment related issues we would like to provide you with more information about it as well as benefits and challenges of e-Mentoring which is the part of blended mentoring process.

Blended mentoring on employment-related issues (ERI) is a development process which has a start and an end. It is based on confidential meetings in pair (pair mentoring) or group (group mentoring) meetings and face-to-face meetings are combined with e-Mentoring sessions on the special e-Platform.

Benefits of e-Mentoring

e-Mentoring can be done at any place and anywhere where there are ICT tools available. It has many strong points: there is no need for the meeting place (advantage especially for group mentoring), it is time saving method and has flexible time scheduling. The distance is not a problem (time for travelling will be saved) and in that way it is cheaper as well.  It is a modern, different and an easy way of communication where different learning methods are used: when communication via email and other written communication it is better for persons who prefer to write; when using net camera it´s better for persons who want to communicate directly. The use of ICT tools enhances one´s skills in them; social networking of Mentors can facilitate their work in e-Mentoring and technical statistics can be used for monitoring and evaluating the e-Mentoring process. When a Manager of an e-Mentoring process has enough statistical data of the on-going mentoring process she/he will have a clear idea what is going on (quality control). e-Mentoring is safe because it can be done in places where participants are not threatened (in case someone is e.g. living in a dangerous area). It distinguishes what things can be delivered in e-Platform and what should be delivered face-to-face.

Challenges of e-Mentoring

There are, however, some issues that have to be taken into consideration in e-Mentoring. Many people are isolated already and in some cases e-Mentoring may increase that. e-Mentoring creates a lack of personal contacts (local and international contacts). It may be difficult to be confident at the beginning. Body language, vocal tunes and state of mood might be missing. Not all people are familiar with ICT and they may think it´s dangerous to write on the internet for security reasons. Some people may be afraid of the fact that other persons see his/her writings in the mentoring process. People have different learning styles, different personalities and also in writing different communications skills. That is the reason why clear rules for e-Mentoring between a Mentor and Mentees are extremely important.