Most of us think that higher and professional mass education leaves much to be desired; however, not everyone knows the essence and the scientific name of the problem. And there is one.
Benjamin Bloom, educational psychologist, discovered it in 1984, while doing a research on mastery learning (which was a comparatively new educational technique back in 80s). He called the phenomenon 2 Sigma Problem. According to Bloom, an average student tutored one-to-one using mastery learning techniques performed two standard deviations ("sigma") better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods, which means that an average tutored student showed better results than 98% of the students in the control class.
So why does this happen? What makes mentors so crucial for both educational and professional success?
1. Undivided Attention
One-on-one mentorship allows you to get undivided attention of your tutor. You don't have to rush after those who understand the material faster than you do or wait for the students that cannot get over the first paragraph for several hours. You have the possibility to slow down on the hardest tasks and to speed up when it comes to elementary knowledge.
Basically, it's you and your tutor who make the rules of your studying process. And no matter whether you got a mentor at the university or during an internship in a company, it's the personal approach what makes mentorship so useful.
2. Mentors Don't Judge
Mentor might evaluate you, but the purpose of this evaluation is entirely different from the one you get from your teachers and bosses. Mentors simply figure out for themselves what are your weak spots in order to build up the educational process. They don't judge their students, they simply try to teach them more efficiently.
3. Applying the Knowledge
Having a mentor at a university means actually finding out the ways for making actual use of endless theory you have to put up with. Having a mentor during your internship means that the greatest secret of how exactly all the things you learned in college might be applied in real life will be revealed.
Sometimes college professors simply don't have enough time to explain how the information they provide to you can be connected with practical work - and that is, after all, the most important thing about knowledge: you must be able to apply it.
4. Goals Defined
Mass education offers general goals for all the students. Mentorship allows setting personal goals and reaching them in an appropriate pace. In one-on-one education process mentor will define the milestones for you so that you could evaluate your own success.
5. Experience Shared
Relevant experience is especially valuable when it comes to business mentors. No matter how good you studied at the university, when you come to a new company it's better to cooperate with someone who had been in your place and knows the specifics.
It's not just about completing all necessary successfully due to the help of your mentor, it's also about swifter understanding of the challenges you might come across on your position.
Unfortunately, universities and companies are not always able to provide their students and interns with personal mentors. However, the 2 Sigma Problem seems to become less sharp due to the launch of "online mentorship" products in the last five years. Information technology seems to be the best answer for all current educational problems, doesn't it?