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The Concept of Mentor Learning

written by: Heather Marie Kosur•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 1/6/2011

The article discuses the concept of mentored learning, which is a variety of online education.

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    There is currently available a variety of different online education courses, which range from downloaded self-paced courses to real-time courses led by teachers. The middle ground between these two types of online learning is called mentored learning. In fact, more than sixty-six percent of online educational schools offer some form of mentored learning.

    However, the real meaning of mentored learning remains unclear to many. Mentored learning can mean anything including something as simple as sending the student emails on a weekly basis to monitor the student’s progress. The article helps explain the meaning and concept of mentored learning.

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    The Idea of Mentored Leaning

    Mentored learning truly plays a very important role in the online learning experience, which includes self-paced reading material, practical assignments combined with communications like student-to-instructor email, student-to-student email, real-time classroom chat, discussion boards, and bulletin boards. The four key points of this type of learning are:

    • Course Materials: Students would spend time reading through course materials and understanding its content. This would mean reading through the lessons and taking mock quizzes to prepare themselves for an actual examination. Just like traditional studying, students choose to use a CD-ROM or use the online version to understand the material.
    • Assignments: Throughout the course, students work on assignments and store them on their machine and servers.
    • Fellow students: Throughout the course, students would work with other students. They can communicate via email, chat, forums, or discussion groups to complete group assignments.
    • Mentoring: This means that students would be mentored or guided by a course instructor or expert. This is done by email exchange, discussion groups, and marking.

    The three forms of mentored learning are further discussed.

    • Email exchange: Students and mentors can be linked via emails. This is a quick and twenty-four hour means to keep in touch. Students could mail queries, and instructors can often respond within seconds.
    • Discussion groups: In discussion groups, students take stand on specific topics that hold importance to their course. The instructors must comment as well as support and guide the students.
    • Marking: Instructors have to mark assignments very closely and electronically. Moreover, they must add comments so that students would know where there work needs improvement.

    Mentored learning online offers the correct equilibrium between self-paced courses and classroom-based courses. It offers students a tailored and modified learning experience and allows them to learn at their own particular speed and at their level and convenience.