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Next Generation Mentoring for eLearning

February 2004
Author:  Rob Edmonds

About this report

eLearning has not replaced instructors; it has changed their role.  eLearning mentors, or e-tutors, are specialist instructors or subject-matter experts who guide learners through the online learning experience.  Although mentors have been around since the early days of eLearning, their prominence is growing as companies learn to make better use of the communication and collaboration aspects of eLearning.  In addition, mentoring is beginning to make greater use of other collaboration technologies and becoming a more integral part of the overall eLearning process.  Start-up companies, including Ensemble Collatoration and Global Mentoring, are bringing next-generation mentoring services to market and challenging incumbents like KnowledgePool and SkillSoft.  This report examines the current and next generation of mentoring services within eLearning and highlights implications for vendors and users.

eLearning implementations have used mentors to perform a variety of roles beyond tutoring, including administration, motivation, and assessment.  Although in this report mentoring refers to all these roles, the discussion assumes that the primary function of a mentor is to provide knowledge, guidance, and support to learners in response to requests for assistance.

Mentoring is one of serveral collaboration applications that are finding greater use in eLearning.  SRIC-BIs Learning-on-Demand Program will continue to address other collaboration issues in forthcoming reports, workshops, and meetings.  Recent reports that cover other aspects of learning collaboration include eLearning in the Financial-Services Industry:  A Case-Based Analysis, which examines financial-services firms' use of electronic communities in eLearning, and eLearning in the Life-Sciences Industry, which looks at pharmaceutical companies' application of collaboration technologies to their learning processes.

Next Generation Mentoring for eLearning