Commentary

Online mentoring in medical education

Published in: South African Family Practice
Volume 58, issue sup1, 2016 , pages: S7–S8
DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2015.1059020
Author(s): Kieran WalshBMJ Learning, BMJ Publishing Group, UK

Abstract

Online mentoring offers a number of advantages in medical education. These advantages can help both mentors and mentees. The main advantages of online mentoring are that: it is much more likely to be learner or mentee centric than traditional forms of mentoring; it has great potential to save costs; it can enable a more continuous and long-term relationship to develop; it enables the recording of mentoring activities, goals and milestones by means of online portfolios. There are some disadvantages associated with online mentoring. One of the main criticisms of online mentoring is that, when it is asynchronous, it prevents the mentor and mentee from reading each other’s facial expressions and body language. Another disadvantage is that lapses in online security may make the relationship less secure. Online mentoring is still relatively in its infancy and undoubtedly will continue to grow and develop in the future.

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