Mentoring is a means to provide effective extracurricular support for gifted students as they progress toward excellence in a given field. Online mentoring was shown to be particularly supportive for the talent development of students with high potential in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). In order to optimize the effects of online mentoring, it is necessary that online-mentoring programs are developed and implemented based on scientific criteria. Therefore, the goals of the GTMH project at the University of Regensburg are (1) to identify the most important determinants of effective online mentoring via empirical quantitative and qualitative research and (2) to develop a research-based global mentoring program for exceptionally talented and motivated youth in STEM – the Global Talent Mentoring Hub.
The GTMH project will conduct studies in two phases: in the first phase, the pre-mentoring research from 2018 to 2020, studies will be conducted on (1) optimal talent development in STEM fields, (2) needs assessment for best practice for mentoring programs, and (3) optimal online mentoring. First, international experts from different fields (STEM, talent development, networking, etc.), and in different roles (researchers, practitioners, etc.) will be surveyed on their views on different support mechanisms for talent development in STEM fields. Second, potential mentees and mentors, as well as experts from different areas (STEM education, giftedness, etc.) will be surveyed about their needs, requirements, and ideas concerning what they think an ideal mentoring program would entail. Third, existing online mentoring programs will be analyzed to determine what aspects (matching criteria, communication behavior, etc.) are essential for effective online mentoring.
The second research phase begins with the start of mentoring on the GTMH online platform (2020 and beyond). Formative evaluations will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the program. Longitudinal studies will measure the growth of students in the mentoring group compared to students in a waiting list control group at several time points. In addition, factors contributing to mentoring success will be examined, such as communication about STEM topics, quality of mentee-mentor relationships, and STEM project involvement. Results of the formative evaluations will be used to continually improve the online mentoring platform.
Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger (project director), Daniel Patrick Balestrini, Dr. Lars Döhling, Christin Graml, Dr. Michael Heilemann, Dr. Linlin Luo, Matthias Mader
Funding provided by:
UNESCO-recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
GTMH Project as part of the World Giftedness Center:
The GTMH Project at the University of Regensburg is part of a larger research undertaking, the research-based conceptualization and preparation of a future World Giftedness Center (WGC). The WGC will be an evidence-based virtual center for giftedness research and education. The Global Talent Mentoring Hub (GTMH) currently under development in Regensburg will be a flagship offering of the future WGC.