Mentor Training Online: Preparing Your Program for Training in a Virtual World

Posted by jmeyer on November 21, 2022

Is mentor training online worth it? Learn about asynchronous mentoring training, and where to find the most valuable courses that are backed by science.

Mentors have a considerable responsibility to behave in a safe, ethical, and effective way with vulnerable children within their community. While mentoring is consistently found to yield positive results, unsafe or ineffective mentoring can be detrimental to flourishing youth. Requiring mentors to receive training before they begin their volunteer journey will give them more confidence to be a mentor and have the potential to create greater success within their match. With today’s work-from-home world where convenience is key, offering mentor training online is an efficient way to get mentors up to speed.

Using Mentoring Software

The preferred type of online training for mentors should be evidence-based and follow the Standards outlined in MENTOR’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM). Training should focus on preparing mentors to have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to provide the foundation for developing an efficacious match. Mentors and mentees have reported more positive perceptions of their match after receiving training that includes the topics recommended in the EEPM. When programs follow these training guidelines, matches last longer and have a greater positive impact.

High-quality mentoring training online is delivered using a mentoring software program that guides mentors through scenarios and problems they may face. The software should use data-driven and research-proven formulas to teach mentors the basics of mentoring. From definitions to expectations, to common challenges and more, a good online mentor course will cover them all. Different lessons or courses can cover separate topics.

Using an online training platform can significantly improve a mentoring program’s efficiency by automatically enrolling new volunteers in training, allowing volunteers to take training on demand, and allowing program staff to track and monitor volunteer’s progress and acquisition of new knowledge throughout the online training process. See Mentoring Central’s virtual mentor training FAQs for answers to some common questions.

Allowing Mentors to Learn at Their Own Pace

Online mentoring training programs that are well-received by end-users are usually asynchronous. This simply means the online work can be done at the user’s own pace and on the user’s schedule (on demand) where they can stop and start when they wish, and the software offers the option of returning them to the place they left off when they stopped a training session. Published research shows that self-paced learning can increase memory and cognition of the tasks being taught. Asynchronous training is crucial not only for the mentor to learn essential topics and skills, but to also have enough time to comfortably complete all the training. The world is ever busier given the pandemic, and so are people. Allowing volunteers and mentors to take a training online, at their own pace, can yield better results for ensuring that volunteers complete training and learn the necessary information.

Supporting Mentors During Training

Monitoring and supporting mentors remain a large part of the success with mentoring programs. Program staff should provide volunteers with opportunities to ask them questions, practice new skills in role-plays or decision-making scenarios, and with information about their specific mentoring program. Once basic training has been completed, staff should be available to provide ongoing advice, additional training on special topics, and extra resources for matches. Some programs may opt for a hybrid training model that includes both attending an in-person training session after completing a web-based course.

Enticing mentors to complete a comprehensive training course can be a challenge. Many mentoring programs require volunteers to complete several hours, and sometimes even several days, of training before they are approved to mentor. This type of rigorous requirement introduces volunteers to the type of commitment they are likely face when they actually start mentoring; and allows the program to manage and support expectations. A sense of completion and purpose can help motivate mentors to complete training programs as well. A completion certificate from a research-based training program is something volunteers can add to their repertoire of personal and professional credentials.

Mentoring Central Has All the Tools You Need

Mentoring Central is the only evidence-based, research-informed mentoring training for mentors serving youth. Online courses are hosted in an online learning management system (LMS) platform and volunteers are enrolled in asynchronous courses selected for use by the program to ensure that the courses reflect the goals and model used by the mentoring program. Programs and mentors have the benefit of using resources developed by the co-authors of the EEPM with Mentoring Central’s breakthrough approach to training. More than 90% of mentors who took Mentoring Central training said they would recommend the training to another mentor and felt more confident in their role as a mentor.

Each lesson includes interactive online activities including scenario-based learning methods, videos, a self-reflective journal, and a certificate of completion. A key concepts summary page with tips for mentors are also included in each lesson. These additional resources will help mentors thrive in any environment.

There is an abundance of benefits to choosing an online training platform such as Mentoring Central’s:

Buy online training to get your mentors up to speed on the most important information to be a positive and effective mentor.