Making the most of mobility: virtual mentoring and education practitioner professional development
Learning provision, including professional learning, needs to embrace mobility (of knowledge, cultures and contexts – physical and cerebral) to enable education practitioners to interact locally and globally, engage with new literacies, access rich contexts, and to question, co-construct and collaborate. Virtual mentoring, also known as distance, remote, tele-, cyber- and eMentoring, offers a level of flexibility that enables mentors and mentees to maximise these concepts of mobility. There are Professional Learning and Development (PLD) initiatives that offer contextualised, individualised learning experiences via mentoring partnerships and Communities of Practice (CoPs), but not so many that have focussed on virtual mentoring and online CoPs. This article describes a Virtual PLD programme that has been offered in Aotearoa New Zealand from 2009 to date and discusses findings from the associated research study, including benefits that can be specifically equated to the virtual nature of the mentoring and access to the online CoP. Also reported are shifts in mentees’ self-efficacy and perceptions of changes in professional practice.
Keywords: online communities; professional development; coaching
(Published: 16 September 2015)
Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2015, 23: 25566 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v23.25566
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