Learning through Osmosis: A Report on the Seattle Mentorship Program’s Pilot Session
This research considers an alternative approach to mentorship in design practices, which links mentors and mentees in a less formal way than traditional mentorship programs through shadowing opportunities. Through observing the mentors’ actions, thought processes, and decisions within the context of the mentor’s ongoing work, the Osmosis mentorship program sets out to determine whether an informal and low-commitment approach to mentorship can aid in career development and promote knowledge sharing within firms.
The article reviews the structure of the program, processes, and the outcomes of a pilot session, where focus groups and surveys were used to understand the effectiveness of the program. Results indicate that mentees gained greater career insight and knowledge about the intricacies of the design practice. Mentees also reported the success of the program in providing a platform for self-advocacy and self-direction. Mentors noted the role of the session in increasing exposure and learning at the firm, as well as preparing mentees to better contribute to their project work.
keywords: knowledge-sharing; career development; situated learning theory; legitimate peripheral participation (LLP); project-based learning