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Is Online Mediation Training Effective?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are three ways to evaluate and determine if online mediation training will be effective: accreditation, professional acceptance and level of mediation skill. Mediation training typically is completed by lawyers, counselors, teachers and social workers. The purpose of mediation is to provide an alternate dispute resolution process. The mediator is a third party who works with people to resolve personal and business disputes that do not involve a crime.

Online mediation training is growing in popularity, as more people become interested in careers in dispute resolution. Increasingly, judges and lawyers are looking to divert disputes to mediation, in an attempt to reduce the use of limited court resources and to encourage people to become actively involved in solving their own problems. In many countries, the parties in a divorce case must complete a mandatory mediation process before a court hearing will be scheduled.

Accreditation is the process of an impartial third-party review against a predetermined standard. It is commonly used by professional associations or groups to verify that training programs meet a specific level of quality. The accreditation or certification is provided by the professional association and provides assurances to potential students of the relative program quality. An effective online mediation training program should be accredited by the professional mediation association. Programs that do not qualify might not be as effective, because of variations in the training program from industry standards.

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Although online mediation training is gaining acceptance as a course delivery method, it has not been widely accepted in the industry. Mediation training is a combination of legal and psychological subject areas, and in many cases, it is provided at a graduate level. A specific level of legal training can be completed online, because the vast majority of the courses are focused on book material.

The psychological aspect of mediation training is more complex. Interpersonal skills, reading body language and understanding human motivation are all soft skills that are commonly learned in a classroom setting. The instructor can review the students' skills during mock mediation sessions and provide coaching and guidance. Online mediation training can be effective only if technology is used to provide coaching opportunities and the ability to view the facial expression and body language of the student.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program is to observe the quality of candidates who completed their mediation training via an online program. The willingness of employers to hire candidates with online certification is a great indicator of the relative success or failure of this learning method. If candidates require further training to gain and kept employment in mediation, then the online program was not effective.

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