Core-competence skills in e-mentoring for medical educators: a conceptual exploration.
BACKGROUND: E-mentoring had the potential to improve medical training, patient services, could be cost-effective, and support continued professional development. Research in terms of required core-competences for its effective utilisation in medical education seemed to be inconsistent, fragmented with significant variations in methodological rigor. AIM: The primary aim was to review and synthesise existing evidence in educational science that addressed the question: "what are the required core-competences in e-mentoring for medical educators?" METHODS: A systematic literature search covered 25 literature databases and employed 42 single search terms and concepts and their Boolean combinations. Coverage was improved by Internet searches, further focus on "Grey literature" and the manual searching of library journals and inspecting the bibliographies of the references obtained by these methods. RESULTS: A total of 4344 citations from the literature search were identified. Altogether 44 items were finally selected for inclusion in the study. The extant quality of published research was generally weak. The weight of the best available evidence suggested that seven specific e-mentoring core-competence domains were seen as significant. CONCLUSIONS: E-mentoring seemed educationally effective and complemented face-to-face mentoring for continuous professional development. Research in this field needs improvement in terms of rigor and quality.