Learning at the edge: The role of mentors, coaches, and their surrogates in developing expertise

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Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


Mentoring and coaching are effective and sometimes necessary strategies to foster the development of expertise. However, these learning enhancement methods are multifactorial and often ambiguously characterized. The goal of this chapter is to unpack this complex interactional relationship to more fully describe what it means to be an effective coach/mentor, and to better understand their role in developing expertise. Specifically, this chapter provides: (1) a detailed description of the different components and functions of mentoring, coaching, and preceptorship; (2) a summary of the meta-analytic evidence supporting the effectiveness of developmental support roles on a range of outcome measures (e.g., job performance); (3) a review of the empirical evidence supporting the development of expertise in mentoring-type roles; and (4) concluding remarks summarizing some of the major issues, and suggestions for how to advance this area of research.

Publication Title

Learning at the Edge: The Role of Mentors, Coaches, and Their Surrogates in Developing Expertise