Effective Mentoring Models for Instructional Designers in Higher Education

In the rapidly evolving field of higher education, instructional designers play a vital role in developing educational experiences that are both engaging and effective. Given the complexities of their work, which often involves understanding both pedagogy and technology, mentoring models have become crucial in supporting their professional development. This article explores several effective mentoring models that have been successfully implemented to guide instructional designers in higher education.

Peer Mentoring

The peer mentoring model is built on the concept of shared learning between instructional designers at similar professional levels. This model fosters an environment of collaboration where designers can exchange ideas, provide feedback on each other’s work, and share best practices. Institutions can facilitate peer mentoring by creating communities of practice where instructional designers meet regularly to discuss challenges and solutions.

Dyadic Mentoring

Dyadic mentoring involves a one-on-one partnership between a seasoned instructional designer and a less experienced designer. This traditional model allows mentors to tailor their guidance to the specific needs and goals of their mentee. The close relationship developed in dyadic mentoring can lead to personalized support and accelerated professional growth for the mentee.

Group Mentoring

Group mentoring brings together multiple mentors and mentees, offering a community approach to development. This model promotes diversity of thought by allowing instructional designers to benefit from multiple perspectives. By conducting regular group meetings and workshops, members can engage in collective problem-solving and knowledge sharing.

Reverse Mentoring

In an interesting twist to mentoring, reverse mentoring pairs junior instructional designers with more experienced ones, but with the younger professionals serving as mentors. This allows seasoned designers to stay up-to-date with the latest educational technologies and pedagogical approaches that their junior counterparts might be more familiar with.


With advancements in technology, e-mentoring has emerged as a convenient and flexible model for instructional design professionals. Virtual platforms enable mentors and mentees to connect regardless of their geographical locations. This model often incorporates email exchanges, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools in lieu of traditional face-to-face interactions.

Hybrid Mentoring

A hybrid mentoring model combines elements from various mentoring approaches to suit particular situations or organizational structures. For instance, an instructional designer might engage in dyadic mentoring for specific projects but also participate in peer mentoring groups for broader professional development activities.


Adopting an effective mentoring model is key for the ongoing development of instructional designers in higher education. Whether it’s peer support, one-on-one guidance, collaborative group sessions, or connecting via digital platforms, different models cater to diverse needs and preferences. Institutions that value the growth of their instructional design staff should consider implementing these models as part of their professional development programs. By doing so, they not only enhance individual competencies but also contribute to the overall quality of education that they provide.