E-Mentoring Communities

Online discussion groups, chat rooms, web-based forums, and other CMC vehicles have emerged as popular tools for interaction between individuals within groups. When CMC is the mode for communication between mentors and their protégés, it has been called e-mentoring, online mentoring, or telementoring. As in traditional on-site mentoring, the mentor, often an adult, develops a close relationship with a younger person in order to promote his or her well-being and success.

One advantage of an online mentoring community (or electronic mentoring community, or e-community), as compared to more traditional one-to-one electronic mentoring, is that mentors observe the communications of other mentors as well as the responses of all of the young people in the community. In this format, once basic guidelines are provided, mentors learn effective mentoring techniques on the job. They can also more effectively and efficiently share their expertise and insights, since no individual is responsible for providing all mentoring communications with a specific protégé in the community. With this approach, each participant benefits from the expertise of a group of mentors, peers, and near-peers.