A Note on Mentoring and E-Learning

elearningAn article in Edweek, and online magazine about education, discusses a situation that is not unique in the USA, but is rare in India – full-time cyber learning at the elementary and senior levels, and the problems caused when there are two working parents. Because cyber learning requires a lot of parental involvement, the issue is whether children whose parents both work are disadvantaged, and what solutions there might be for those students.

The “question doesn’t arise” in India, as it’s rare for middle or upper class families to have two full-time working parents, and even more unusual to have full-time cyber schooling. But the question of parental involvement in e-learning is increasingly relevant as more schools opt for supplementary e-learning or flipped classes, and more parents buy online or tablet e-learning study packages.

An e-learning “smart study” package like Extramarks LIVE includes an option for parent involvement. It might be debatable whether the option helps, but it’s there if the student and parent want to use it. But what if the parents simply don’t have time, or the skills and patience, to monitor their kids’ at-home study? Extramarks solves that problem with the same solution as the USA cyber schools: have a mentor or mentors replace or supplement the parents. Having both a parent and a mentor is an option, and a good one as a mentor may have skills in a particular subject that the available parent doesn’t. In Extramarks, the option is on line and free for student, parent and mentor.

Another solution that USA cyber schools have proposed is using peer groups when parents can’t supervise, or “substitute” mentors are not available. Extramarks LIVE also has a group option – the student can choose a group by class and subject and engage with students from other schools, and in other parts of the country.

All of this – the e-learning study package, parental involvement, mentors, peer groups – would not have been possible 20 years ago. It’s one of the ways e-learning not only promises easy and effective study solutions, but broadens the range of knowledgeable resources, and the educational horizons, of every student.