Although there exist multiple strategies when it comes to teaching, one of the most commonly used ones nowadays is the so-called mentoring. Mentoring, gaining more and more popularity year by year, is based on the idea that professors are meant to guide and discover the potential of their students, rather than express their dominance and lead them using power and authority.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and introducing the new mode of remote learning in many schools, the ways of mentoring also had to change in order to fit the new, distance learning environment. As it turned out, virtual mentoring was a grand success benefitting both teachers and students, who, according to statistics, responded very positively to this strategy of teaching. To find out how and why virtual mentoring improves student engagement, follow our article.
Nowadays, schools and universities are moving towards distance learning. More than ever before, students tend to live at a distance from their schools as the demand for education keeps on growing each year. Having to attend face-to-face classes often is virtually impossible for those living far away from the place where the classes are held. This requires a new form of teaching and motivating students to learn. That’s why in recent years, we have witnessed the growing popularity of mentoring apps, such as MentorcliQ.
New Approach to Teaching
Decades of experience working with students in an educational environment has shown that both professors and students have very specific needs when it comes to mastering even the most difficult and complex of subjects.
For instance, professors aren’t as authoritative as before, as these approaches are considered obsolete, inefficient, and ineffective. Instead, teachers nowadays are mentors and teachers at the same time, who develop a mutually beneficial relationship with each student all the way towards their graduation. This idea is not exactly new and dates back to Ancient Greece with Socrates, who said that “the highest form of education is to question oneself and others.”
This new approach to teaching helps students relate not only to the material but also to their mentors by gaining a better understanding of what they must do to succeed in this highly competitive world, where critical thinking is valued more than ever. At the same time, this type of mentoring allows teachers to support their students in a way that is totally different from any other strategy.
Supporting means providing them with real-life advice on how to build a stable personal environment that will help them achieve academic success with less effort than they could ever imagine.
Engagement and Virtual Mentoring
Nowadays, students are often overwhelmed by both the workload that they have to face while studying and taking care of other extracurricular activities along the way. All of these factors lead students to having a sense of inadequacy towards their research and jobs in general. This feeling leads them to decrease their engagement with their education tasks until there is absolutely nothing left, so much so that dropping out becomes a viable option for them.
However, when it comes to virtual mentoring, this scenario does not play out due to multiple reasons.
First of all, students who are engaged in an online educational program can often work on material that fits them very well since it can be both easily and quickly delivered since most learning packages are created using MOOC format (massive open online course) so as to reach several million students all over the globe – almost every student can find something useful when searching for courses according to their interests.
Moreover, due to remote learning patterns, which are based primarily on self-education instead of classroom material based only on lecture notes, many students feel less overwhelmed due to the fact that they don’t have constant classes scheduled into their tight schedule. It eliminates one of the biggest problems existing in many schools, which has led many young people down depression as they felt like they were not able to cope with all tasks ahead of them.
With virtual mentoring, every student feels more responsibility for his or her education which usually positively influences general engagement perception because:
- it helps them realize what real values mean
- improves student-student relations as well as communication itself by providing not only academic but also psychological support
- It motivates students towards using more resources online as well as motivating them psychologically by providing them with social proof
Finally, virtual mentoring increases curiosity, encouraging us towards asking questions about topics we don’t understand so as to gain new knowledge.
The Bottom Line
Virtual mentoring improves student engagement since it is highly effective at tackling problems that usually lead to disengagement. Most of the mentoring strategies were created with face-to-face interactions in mind, and thus it was believed that nothing could replace one on one interaction between students and teachers.
However, when people had to learn how to adapt their teaching styles to accommodate different types of learners, new modes of teaching emerged. Today, this includes online teaching, as well as several other learning formats.
The development of online mentoring systems has proven to be particularly important nowadays. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online learning, many students struggle to engage with their classes. Virtual mentors can help students bridge that gap between school-based and online learning to restore the right levels of engagement.