Is your program ready to go online?: The E-Mentoring Readiness Scale can tell you!


Kaufman, M. R., Zhou, X., Yenokyan, G., Levine, D. K., Wright, K., Salcido, M., Garringer, M., & Palen, L.-A. (2024). Exploring organizational digital readiness to offer youth E-Mentoring. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning.


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition of many youth mentoring programs to digital formats, known as e-mentoring. Despite the widespread implementation, the digital readiness of these organizations remained largely unmeasured. This study aimed to assess the digital readiness of youth mentoring organizations and validate a newly developed E-Mentoring Readiness Scale.


95 representatives from U.S. mentoring programs completed an online survey in April 2021. The survey included questions on program characteristics and readiness for e-mentoring. The E-Mentoring Readiness Scale comprised 11 items adapted from existing measures (HopeLab and NTEN; Laws et al., 2020, NTEN, 2022), covering aspects such as technology availability, literacy, and staff buy-in. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to validate the scale.


The study found that respondents were moderately confident in using e-mentoring in place of in-person activities. However, confidence in effectively incorporating e-mentoring and comfort with the required technology was only slight. The CFA revealed two distinct, but related factors: capacity (technology availability, literacy) and readiness (comfort with sensitive topics, adult/child online relationships).


The findings suggest that while youth mentoring programs have some confidence in e-mentoring, there are significant challenges, particularly in technology literacy and sensitive communication. The E-Mentoring Readiness Scale provides a useful tool for assessing readiness and identifying areas for improvement. This study highlights the importance of careful planning and support to successfully integrate e-mentoring into youth services.

Assessing digital readiness is crucial for the successful implementation of e-mentoring. The E-Mentoring Readiness Scale can help organizations evaluate their preparedness and address gaps, ensuring effective and ethical mentoring practices in the digital age.