From practising to practitioner: developing reflective skills through action research in computer-mediated communication

Sukh Hamilton, Sarah Fielding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Work-based learning (UK Foundation degree)student cohorts are typically geographically, temporally and professionally disparate. Work-based learning is authentic in being negotiated, contextual, and learner-driven; allowing students to construct relevant knowledge involving real world situations. Mentoring is both a form of authentic learning and an enhancement to it. Learning occurs in social contexts (Kerka 1997) and mentoring is a social practice (Garvey, Stokes, and Megginson 2006). Peer mentoring can be vital inwork-based learning; guiding students through the landscape of the learning journey by engaging in dialogue, identifying development needs, making implicit knowledge tacit and applying it to practice (Wilson Blewitt, and Moody, 2005) and by helping students to feel at ease with the learning environment (Stuart, Lido, and Morgan

2009). Students (andtheir mentors) must increasingly also navigate a digitallandscape; less of a problem for ‘digital natives’, butFoundation degree students are often mature individualsrecruited as part of the widening participation agenda. Oftentheir level of IT experience could be considered that of a‘digital tourist’. One potential solution to the problem of providing peer support is e-mentoring which is widely used,and debated, as a form of peripatetic support. It is popular because it might alleviate some of the barriers of timeconstraints and geographic distance (Penny and Bolton 2009); but is still considered by many to be a ‘poor cousin’ toconventional mentoring, mainly because its traditional toolssuch as e-mail (Martz and Reddy 2005) are limited in terms of media richness (Daft and Lengel 1984). There is littleinvestigative work into the value of new, more media-rich web2.0 tools, such as video e-mail, to facilitate peer mentoring.This exploratory study (in progress) directly engages ‘digitaltourists’ in authentic learning to solve a real world problemthrough evaluative and reflective practice. The results of thisstudy will be used to develop a ‘rough guide’ to effective e-mentoring for subsequent peer groups.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCross examination of the core
Subtitle of host publicationan interdisciplinary focus on authentic learning
EditorsPhil Fitzsimmons, Edie Lanphar
Place of PublicationSanta Barbara, Calif.
PublisherAntonian Publishing
ISBN (Print)9780984581009
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'From practising to practitioner: developing reflective skills through action research in computer-mediated communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this