How is Mentoring and Educational Assistance Changing in the new reality of Remote Learning?

Photo courtesy of codementor.io
The Compass learning platform provided by Lighthouse Labs
The Compass learning platform provided by Lighthouse Labs
The interface on Compass learning platform to create an assistance request
The interface on Compass learning platform to create an assistance request
The Compass learning platform provided by Lighthouse Labs
A view of an assistance request in action
The first piece of code I got reviewed by a mentor via assistance request, a conditional lunch decision maker!
The first piece of code I got reviewed by a mentor via assistance request, a conditional lunch decision maker!
  • Getting over the initial fear of asking questions and my own hang-ups and shyness was hugely important. The mantra our bootcamp forced on us was to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Being as descriptive as possible in my AR request and labelling things correctly.
  • Making comments in my code i.e:
//MENTOR PLEASE LOOK AT THIS
  • I had to become more assertive to keep certain mentors on track.
  • I have taken steps to be more of the driver of the session and this worked better for me rather than passively sitting back letting them do the driving.
  • Being asked questions and guided to the answer without having the whole answer spelled out.
  • A friendly and personable mentor who creates a good working relationship, but also knows when to stick to business
  • A mentor who can explain difficult concepts in a straightforward manner without making me feel inferior.
  • A mentor who treats me as an equal not as a subordinate.
  • A mentor who builds me up and gives me confidence, refraining from tearing me down and making me feel like a burden.
The learning model explored looks at 4 phases of learning Introduction, Development, Proficiency and Mastery.
The learning model explored looks at 4 phases of learning that mentees go through whilst studying methods to implement integrated classroom technologies
  • An introductory phase: where the mentee needing assistance and the mentor have to go through introductory steps to gauge pre-existing knowledge, conceptualise the problem and gauge each others’ expertise level
  • A developmental phase: where the mentor can scaffold and coach the mentee
  • A proficiency phase: where the mentor leaves the mentee to get through the problem a little bit unaided
  • A mastery phase: by this point there may have been some exchange in questions and ideas referring to the previous phases however mastery would see the problem be resolved and the mentee be at least comfortable with resolving the issue or the concepts needed to do that. The mentor can also provide further readings and resources to expand upon topics covered
  • Providing methodology behind problems/changes and providing a insightful explanation (Proficiency)
  • Providing industry context (Proficiency/Mastery)
  • Working with you to simplify the problem without spelling it out (Developmental)
  • Scaffolding learning by restating the problem in different ways and analogising the solution, steps or concepts (Developmental)
  • Asking questions to draw out answers (Introductory/Developmental)
  • Walk through, refactoring and breaking-problems into smaller parts (Introductory/Developmental)
  • Conversation/Personal Check-in/building rapport (Introductory)
  • Having more of a discussion about a problem and using it as a mini-teaching session (Developmental/Proficiency)
  • Providing additional resources and readings (Mastery)
  • Using VSCode Liveshare to demonstrate code and outcomes (visual learning) providing foundational knowledge on the topics (introduction/developmental)
  • Giving misleading or incorrect info, making disparaging comments (we are learning after all they should know this)
  • Just sending a resource/copy and pasting code to you
  • Just telling you the answer of how to fix the code instead of guiding — providing little to no explanation of the solution
  • Going off topic
  • Being dismissive, telling mentee they should understand this without help
  • Mentors who poke around in the dark without a clue, or dismiss suggestions
  • Introducing more complex solutions unfamiliar to the mentee
  • No awareness, familiarity or knowledge of the specific activity, assignment or technology
  • Complete lack of empathy, condescending, rude, lack of patience, making mentee feel stupid
  • Rushing through the request to get to another request instead of taking time with the problem in front of them
  • Be organised and have your problem concisely demonstrable and make notes in comments in your editor for a mentor to //look at this
  • state clearly in the description what your having an issue with- including assignment #
  • If the mentor does not seem to know the problem, ask for another mentor
  • Do some debugging of your code first, do what is within your ability don’t expect a mentor to do everything for you if it’s within your power
  • Have very clear questions prepared and ready going in and a thorough understanding of the related code and problem so you can explain it well
  • Ask your mentor to transfer the problem to a senior mentor if they can’t help you
  • Keep the session moving by debugging error by error
  • Don’t use the request system if you have less than 15 minutes before you need to do something else
  • At the beginning of the call, set the expectation as to what you hope to get out of the call and how much time you have.
  • Ask the mentor if they are familiar with the specific exercise you’re working on
  • Ask them if they’re familiar with technology you’re working with
  • Tell your mentor you have X minutes to figure something out (don’t fill in X with any number less than 15)
  • Ask any questions, don’t be afraid!
  • Be authoritative and keep mentors on track, this should be student driven learning and not mentor driven learning
  • Please be patient, don’t treat the queue like you have to rush through it if it’s busy
  • Please don’t make me feel uncomfortable asking questions
  • be patient, and don’t tell people it’s “pretty straightforward” if a mentee approaches you with a problem it’s not “pretty straightforward” to them
  • Be sure you know the topic before accepting the request
  • Do not assume you know what is wrong, listen to the student
  • Engage with the student and be empathetic about where they are, not judgemental
  • Don’t be afraid to pass the request on to someone who knows better
  • Refer to your own code if possible
  • Assess the stress level, anxiety level and the mentee’s capacity to take in new information
  • Do some initial assessment to see the mentee’s prior knowledge and learning style
  • Avoiding going down rabbit holes and on tangents about the history of a particular technology or language. Consider mentees’ have deadlines
  • Pay closer attention to what social cues are available via video call
  • Explain things as if you were talking to a 5 year old until it is clear that the person understands what you are talking about.
  • Share your thought process
  • Slow down and try to understand where the student is coming from
  • Please be some-what knowledgeable of the content the mentee is learning
  • Ask mentees’ to reflect back their learnings at the end of a session
  • use VSCode Liveshare more
  • ask mentees if they have any other questions or something to help with and make sure everything was clear
  • Integration with a learning platform on the compass side, automatic integration into VScode Liveshare as well as a video call?
  • The junior mentors are not very useful; they often just go and see what they wrote for a specific problem; Some even mentioned that they never did that part
  • Option of text chat instead of video, option to include snippets of code or a VSCode Liveshare link so the mentor can see ahead of time what needs to be addressed
  • Categories of questions is a helpful addition, so that you can reach mentors on their best subject
  • Mentors become available earlier. And later on Friday’s and the weekend
  • Show a list of pending requests so that people can ask to join in and have group sessions.
  • More mentors so less wait time
  • More mentors on weekends and being able to see their work for motivation and/or discussion
A mock-up of an audio mixing mentoring platform could look like. Features screen sharing, participants, chat, file sharing.
A mock-up of what an audio mixing mentoring platform could look like featuring a screen share, a chat, a file dropper and a participants list with options to add files and participants. Adobe Premiere Pro Image courtesy of: speckyboy.com
The 10 minute mini-lesson model broken down into steps. Room given for written and verbal feedback, and to scaffold learning.
The 10 minute mini-lesson model broken down into steps.
The current feedback system implemented in lighthouse labs’ Compass learning platform.
The current feedback system implemented in lighthouse labs’ Compass learning platform.
This model could allow student feedback to provide more depth to mentors. Stop doing x, Start doing x and continue doing x.
The Stop, Start, Continue technique allows options for more targeted feedback. Arguably reviews should work this way for both mentor and mentee to improve.

End Notes

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