Book Review, mentor, mentoring, Professional Development

#BookReview: Mentoring Programs That Work

One of my research projects I am currently working focuses on professional mentoring, specifically mentoring experiences for professional learning and development offered by professional organizations/associations. Over the past couple of years, I have been fortunate to speak with a number of higher education professionals who have been part of a formal mentoring program, either as a mentor or a learner (a.k. a. mentee, protege, or leader). It has been great to learn about their how mentoring has met their professional development needs, helped to meet career goals, and navigated both personal/professional situations faced in the workplace.  As I finish a few more interviews, I hope to wrap up data collection/analysis to share findings/implications of mentoring experiences later this year — I promise. Part of this research design includes understanding how professional learning organizations/associations structure and administer mentoring programs for its membership. In speaking with mentoring participants and coordinators from a variety of mentoring programs that serve higher education professionals (Thank you: NACADA ELP, ACPAgrow, OACUHO, and NASPA Candid Conversations 365), I hope to offer insights and practical implications based on these mentoring experiences.

In my literature review, I stumbled upon, Mentoring Programs That Work by Jenn Labin, which was recently published by the Association for Talent Development. Based on my own thread of scholarship, I wanted to review and learn what suggestions this author had to provide based on her experiences in mentoring programs in a variety of industries.Although each mentoring program will have its own objectives and unique needs for participants, one constant component across all programs is the need to form connections to support an effective mentoring relationship. Mentoring relationships will be the cornerstone for skill development, personalized learning, and knowledge acquisition within any professional domain. Unlike typical educational training programs or professional development/learning, mentoring programs are more uniquely tailored for talent development needs. That being said, I am not sure we put the time or effort into preparing mentors and learners who enter this type of learning and development program.  I agree with Labin’s sentiments: “Mentoring programs are important.” Mentoring is an individual, learner-driven experience where proteges work with mentors to create a learner-focused solution. Mentors can support learners to acquire a specific knowledge domain, scaffold professional work situations, and develop tacit skills required to advance in their career field. Labin (2017) believes most mentoring programs fail if their goals are not aligned to talent/professional needs, inability to scale and sustain initiatives, and/or as a result of little stakeholders involvement or championship. I am sharing this brief overview of this book, as I think it has practical solutions for managers or program coordinators who want to develop (or improve) a successful mentoring program, while also supporting the mentoring experience and empowering mentors with tools they will need for this type of professional learning.

This book presents practical ideas and examples to outline the AXLES Framework for developing mentoring programs. The AXLES approach is similar to the ADDIE model for designing learning solutions, which will be familiar to my instructional designers or training industry colleagues. Labin introduces the components of AXLES in the introduction chapter of her book (2017, p. xv-xvi):

  • A = Align to Purpose: define the intention/goals of the program; identify critical questions for program success, and establish strategic partners within the organization to support the mentoring program
  • X = Design the Experience: identify the mentoring program structure, schedule, participant matching, and expectations; what are the deliverables, outcomes, and lifecycle of the program you want to design?
  • L = Launch Your Program: this is the implementation of the mentoring program (initially or annually); Will you have an orientation meeting, agenda, or focused platform/communication method to get the program going?
  • E = Evaluate Effectiveness: What will be the types of measures or metrics for the mentoring program?; identify program success from both narratives of participants and potential data collection with milestones and participant input
  • S = Support Participants: design and develop resources, webinars, videos, or other performance support aids to scaffold mentor-learner interactions; these could be a participant playbook, monthly meeting agendas, or even conversation guides/resources for discussions to encourage connections for these mentoring relationships

Mentoring is defined in a number of different ways, and the approach for a mentoring experience will be individual and unique depending on your organization/institutions needs. Chapter 2 helps to identify both the direction and talent development gaps you would like to address within your own mentoring program. This foundational chapter requires readers to identify the purpose, success measures, and the focus of the program by examining both the learners’ (protege) benefits and mentors’ benefits for involvement. A mentoring program could be developed to meet technical needs or to transfer institutional knowledge, or it might be created for talent development/growth of professionals within your organization. Identifying the objectives, purpose statement, and the “role of mentoring” will be a critical phase for those constructing this type of training design.

Chapter 3 offers suggestions for mentoring program designs. For the practical organization of a mentoring program, you are encouraged to outline questions for planning the program structure, identify the program schedule, consider how to conduct participant matching, and describe how learners and mentors will participate in the program. The considerations for “cultural alignment” were addressed early in this chapter, as this type of professional development might be executed differently based on the organizations need and its learning culture. A mentoring program structure type could include traditional or 1:1 mentoring, reverse mentoring, mentor-led (group mentoring), peer-led (mentoring circles), or a hybrid of any of these formats.  Additionally, this section of the books helps readers to consider the schedule length, entry, and programmatic features, such as the matching process for mentoring and potential technology solutions for support. The last stages of design decisions required for planning mentoring programs involve the learner and mentor engagement, specifically participants entry and exit into the program and outlining operating directions, guidelines, and expectations to create successful mentoring experiences.

Chapter 4 and 5 offer insights and practical suggestions for launching and evaluating a mentoring program, respectively. I appreciated the potential suggestions for professional learning opportunities, such as communication preferences, setting goals and development plans, skill-building workshops, and other resources that could be curated for a mentoring program (e.g. icebreakers, readings, teambuilding activities, conversation topics, etc.). For evaluation purposes, Labin (2017) mapped the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Evaluation for review of a sample mentoring program and offered strategies for how qualitative and quantitative data might offer measurement insights during a program review. Potential metrics for success could be conducted by observation of performance improvement/changes, case-based examination of the mentoring relationship, individual development plans/goals met, reflections or narratives shared in milestone reports, and engagement of mentors and leaders within the organization.

Regardless of the industry or occupation, I think mentoring program administrators/coordinators will find Labin’s book both informative and practical for designing a comprehensive mentoring program that supports productive mentoring experiences. There are a number of suggestions for defining effective mentoring behaviors, onboarding participants, engaging in regular skill building and/or learning activities, and considerations for how to engage participants throughout a mentoring program experience. Administrators of mentoring programs will gain a number of valuable ideas for communication planning, participant recruitment, mentor-learner pair matching, supporting mentors in their role, potential ways to report and offer metrics for program measurement, learning material development/maintenance, dealing with issues, and supporting participants throughout the mentoring program cycle. I appreciate how each chapter offers applied examples of mentoring perspectives from learners or various industry leaders, and the end of each chapter offers key insights, exercises, and questions for individual reflection and potential team discussions. Additionally, there are a number of support resources and example materials in the appendices of this book to help guide mentoring program development.

Reference:

Labin, J. (2017). Mentoring programs that work. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development Press.

*Full disclosure: The book, Mentoring Programs That Work, was sent to me by @ATD Press to read and review. As this is a valuable contribution for mentoring program development to support professional learning and development, I am more than pleased to offer this review on my blog. Thank you!” 

Networked Community, Professional Development, Research, video, Virtual Communities

What Communities and Hashtags Connect You On Twitter?

Twitter is commonly used for learning & development. We know that hashtags are great ways to link conversations, trends, news, and happenings on this social network. In real time, you can follow a story, participate in a conversation, and contribute to a community by including a hashtag in your tweet. A hashtag community might be formed by an instructor for a specific educational course or program. Or maybe there is a hashtag you are following for a professional learning event or for a specific conference backchannel (I’ve been known to inquire about these before). Hashtags have the power to share learning/knowledge from a conference for participants who are on-site or at a distance.

GotHashtagFor example, Kimmons and Veletsianos (2016) examined the tweets shared during the 2014 and 2015 American Educational Research Associations (AERA) annual conferences by reviewing the #aera14 and #aera15 hashtag. They found that backchannels are a venue for both scholarly and non-scholarly communications. It’s used for more than just promotion — the conference backchannel offers a way to share work, engage in scholarly conversations, and discussion current events or issues relevant to education.  Want to learn more? Watch the Research Shorts video below:


Conference participants gave a nod to other educational communities online, such as #edchat or #edreform, who regularly dialog, share, and interact with one another on Twitter using their group hashtag.

Like a number of educators, I have an affinity to a few Twitter communities online based on the hashtags they share and use. Some of these groups have regular  Twitter chats, and a number of Twitter communities offer support, advice, and guidance within a field or discipline. I’ll give a hat-tip to (one of many) a hashtag that supported my own work as a doctoral researcher active on Twitter => #PhDchat. This informal, online network has been known to support many graduate students work through dissertation/thesis development, swap research methods, and learn about effective academic writing practices (to name a few). emergent, online community is an informal network. Learn more about the #phdchat community from Ford,  Veletsianos, and Resta’s (2014) as they share their examination of this emerging, online network:

As some of you might know, I am working with some stellar researchers to learn more about how these online, informal Twitter communities/hashtags impact professional development.  We are currently gathering hashtags that you connect to for conversation and community on Twitter. If you participate in a regular/semi-regular Twitter chat with other educations — tell us about it! Or is there just a hashtag you follow and use frequently in your tweets? Let us know! Share your hashtags & Twitter chats you have in your discipline, field, or occupation by ADDING  to this OPEN Google doc — SHARE your Twitter Community and/or Hashtag here: http://bit.ly/hashtagcommunity Thank you!

References:

Ford, K., Veletsianos, G., & Resta, P. (2014). The structure and characteristics of #phdchat, an emergent online social network. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 18(1).

Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving Uses of Twitter as a Conference Backchannel and Social Commentary Platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.

Want to see more visual research? I suggest you go take a look at Research Shorts on YouTube => Subscribe & Watch NOW: http://bit.ly/researchshorts

mentor, mentoring, Research

Research Study: Exploring Mentoring Experiences

Mentoring is often a relationship between a less experienced individual, called a mentee or protégé, and a more experienced individual known as a mentor. Traditionally, mentoring is viewed as a face-to-face, long-term relationship and interactions between a supervisory adult and a novice student that fosters the mentee’s professional, academic, or personal development (Donaldson, Ensher, & Grant-Vallone, 2000). The typical examples of mentoring focus on a senior and junior configuration; however there are growing experiences and models that vary in mentoring experiences. Different structures of mentoring (e.g. formal, peer, group, network, and informal mentoring) support career goals, while other mentoring opportunities help contribute to a particular field or discipline.

mentoring

About the Research Study

A number of our professional organizations offer mentoring opportunities and structured mentoring programs as a form of learning and development. For this research study, our team would like to learn more about MENTORING EXPERIENCES; specifically, how these experiences impact the participants (i.e. mentors,protégé, and program coordinators) with regards to their personal and professional development. We are in the early days of learning the how mentoring has impacted individueals and what mentoring means for professionals.

mentor_words

We seek to explore mentoring through the shared narrative of mentoring experiences to answer the following research questions:

  • What influence does mentoring have on personal, professional, academic, and career development?
  • How does mentoring impact contributions to a professional association and/or learning organizations?
  • How does mentoring contribute to a professional field or industry?

Support our Mentoring Research!

Phase 1: Survey http://bit.ly/ExploringMentoring

This survey asks both open- and close-ended questions, and it will take 15-20 minutes to complete. Respondents will be asked about personal perspectives on mentoring based on their own experiences and demographic information:

If you have had more than one formal mentoring role and/or formal mentoring experience – please feel free to submit another survey response. This survey will remain open for several weeks if you decide to complete this survey or if you wish to pass this along to other colleagues who can share their mentoring experience.

Phase 2: Research Interviews

 http://bit.ly/MentoringInterviews 

We want to learn more about mentoring programs and its impact on personal and professional development, to its influence on the field/discipline, and to understand how mentoring supports professional associations who create these programs.The interview is expected to take 45-60 minutes and no sensitive questions will be asked during it. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and optional.If you are willing to talk with a researcher via phone or Skype about your experiences, please click on this link to complete the informed consent formhttp://bit.ly/MentoringInterviews

Thanks to the members of the Exploring Mentoring Research Team who are supporting to this study:

  • Mariya Gavrilova Aguilar, University of North Texas
  • Laura Lambeth, Oregon State University
  • Sara Ackerson, Washington State University Vancouver
  • Ed Cabellon, Bridgewater State University

With thanks for support and development also from:

  • Craig McGill, Florida International University
  • Erin Justyna, Texas Tech University
  • Brandan Lowden, Pikes Peak Community College

For further questions or inquiries about this study, please contact Dr. Laura Pasquini (Laura.Pasquini@unt.edu), as we would be more than happy to follow up with questions, additional support, recruitment, and/or collaboration.

Reference:

Donaldson, S. I., Ensher, E. A., & Grant-Vallone, E. J. (2000). Longitudinal examination of mentoring relationships on organizational commitment and citizenship behavior. Journal of Career Development, 26, 233-249.

LPQ

CFP: The @LPQuarterly Volume 1, Issue 4 EXTENDED: DUE November 5, 2012

The Learning and Performance Quarterly (LPQ) is an online, open access peer-review journal designed to make research available to the public and to support a greater exchange of global knowledge. We have recently been invited to publish in the EBSCO research database, and our publication is growing both in author contributions and readership. Articles in support of innovative learning and performance across disciplines from developing and proven scholars are welcome for the last call for 2012 – here is the more information about the call for manuscripts.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Learning and Performance Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 4

The Learning and Performance Quarterly (LPQ) is currently accepting submissions for the second issue. Deadline for submissions is Friday, October 26 at 5 pm CDT. DEADLINE EXTENDED to Monday, November 5, 2012 at 11:59 CDT. Submission of manuscripts can be made online through the LP Quarterly website. For detailed submission guidelines and instructions on how to make a submission please visit Author Guidelines.


TYPES OF MANUSCRIPTS ACCEPTED
Research Articles :
Papers that are concerned with the various approaches to learning and performance impact. These papers should discuss the literature related to the approach employed and include a measure of the learning and performance impact of the approach employed.

Case Studies:
Case studies that highlight a particular learning, training, performance or instructional setting in which learning and performance resources were used to address a particular challenge. They present a discussion of the challenge from current literature, what was done to solve or explore it, and the results of the project. They often offer suggestions for others interested in addressing similar challenges.

Concept/Theory Papers:
Papers that present new concepts or contribute to existing theory for learning and performance. This should offer a discussion of the literature related to the concept/theory along with a discussion of the major issues for future research needed to validate the concept/theory.

Book Reviews:
Book reviews of publications 2011 or later will be accepted to highlight a issues and resources relevant for learning and performance and offer a suggested solution or direction. The position is supported with both a logical argument and a review of the pertinent literature. Preference will be given in the review process to book review essays that comment on two or more related books.  Book review essays should not exceed 3,800 words and should include city, state, publisher, and year of the book’s publication.  An abstract of 150 words or less and keywords are required for book review essays.  Reviews of single books should not exceed 1,900 words.  At the beginning of the text please include title, author, publisher, city, date, and page numbers of the book(s) under review.

CALL FOR LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE QUARTERLY REVIEWERS
Interested in reviewing articles for the LPQ Journal? The LPQ journal is looking for reviewers to conduct peer reviews and evaluations of submissions.
Please identify your reviewing interests, substantive areas of expertise, and preferred research methods when completing the LPQ journal registration online.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. Please pass this post onto other colleagues and researchers who might be interested in publishing, reviewing or editing for the Learning and Performance Quarterly journal.

Thank you,

Laura Pasquini & Dr. Jeff Allen, Founding Editors
Learning and Performance Quarterly
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter @LPQuarterly
Email: LPquarterly@gmail.com