This paper discusses how cross-cultural e-mentoring facilitated inquiry-based learning through community and knowledge building and the multiple roles e-mentors played in fostering transformative learning in protégées. A series of professional development programmes on “online tutoring and mentoring” were conducted by the Distance Education Modernization Project (DEMP) implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education in Sri Lanka. These programmes were conducted in the form of a blended online course using the MOODLE learning management system. The main aim of these programmes was to develop the capacity of faculty and other professionals who would be responsible for designing and delivering online programmes. One of the online activities in this course was to develop the capacity of the participants to facilitate inquiry-based learning using cross-cultural e-mentors. In each round of training, participants were divided into three groups (about 8-11 participants in each) to solve a social problem, using three inquiry-based learning formats: problem solving, role-play and case-based reasoning. The e-mentors were graduate students at the University of New Mexico, in the United States. Their goals were to facilitate the interactive activity and help the Sri Lanakan protégées solve the problem through negotiation of meaning in an online environment. The transcripts of participants in 3 rounds of training and their interactions with e-mentors were analysed. Results showed that the cross-cultural e-mentors demonstrated different strategies to help protégés to find solutions, help them build the online community and to construct knowledge by building on each other’s posts. Their contributions range from 15% - 41% of the total posts. They exhibited multiple-roles; pedagogical, managerial, technical, social, collaborative and inspirational. Protégés acknowledged that e-mentors transformed their perspectives on the social problems they dealt with, and methods of online learning.
Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of Asian Association of Open Universities
E-mentoring, cross-cultural learning, inquiry-based, online, Moodle
Jayatilleke, B. G., Kulasekera, G. U., Kumarasinha, M. C. B., & Gunawardena, C. N. (2012). Cross-cultural E-mentor Roles in Facilitating Inquiry-based Online Learning. Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of Asian Association of Open Universities (pp. 60-68). Chiba, Japan.
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