Online mentoring as a strategy for engaging diversity across Cochrane in sharing knowledge translation skills and expertise




Oral session: Education and training (1)


Tuesday 22 October 2019 - 16:00 to 17:30


All authors in correct order:

Head K1, Watts C2, Buckreus K3, Lockwood C4
1 Cochrane Knowledge Translation Department, Switzerland
2 Cochrane Membership and Learning Support Department, UK
3 Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit, Canada
4 Cochrane Nursing Care Field, Australia
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Karen Head

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: mentorship can be defined as, “a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge”. Such programmes are common in academic institutions and have been linked to enhanced productivity and self-confidence. During the development of the Cochrane Knowledge Translation (KT) Framework, mentoring was raised by numerous respondents as a potentially effective way of learning from people with greater experience in delivering effective KT. Based on this, a pilot project is being set-up to explore the potential of a KT mentoring scheme.

Objectives: to present how the process of setting up a virtual mentoring scheme will be used to create the potential for, and strategic value of, promoting cross-cultural engagement throughout Cochrane by linking up people delivering Cochrane KT projects (mentees) with people who have existing experience and knowledge of KT (mentors).

Methods: Cochrane KT 'Growing Internal KT Capacity' Working Group has set up the mentoring programme. The process has included identifying and agreeing the aims of the scheme, defining the eligibility criteria for both mentors and mentees and developing a recruitment process for both groups. In addition, documentation has been developed to guide the mentor pairs during their initial discussions and to help define good practice in mentoring, including advice on delivering ‘virtual’ mentoring online. We aim to identify six to eight mentoring ‘pairs’ for the pilot scheme, which is due to start in September. The ‘pairs’ will meet online for 60 to 90 minutes per month for six months, setting objectives on tackling an agreed specific KT project, after which we will evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme.

Results: this session will review the progress to date on the development of the pilot scheme. We will highlight key learning through the planning, recruitment and initial stages of the pilot. We will address the challenges faced and how we have attempted to overcome them. We will also present our plans for the future evaluation of the scheme.

Conclusion: Cochrane is committed to the long-term sustainability of mentorship as a mechanism for promoting professional support and development among members, and ensuring such strategies are supported and appropriately resourced. Evaluation data will guide future iterations for mentoring in KT and other areas of learning.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: the virtual mentoring scheme will include projects that promote and support consumer involvement in Cochrane KT activities.