Why Online Mediation is Useful to the Parties and to NAFCM Community Mediators as Well

On September 5, during the NAFCM (National Association for Community Mediation) webinar “Increasing Mediation Accessibility through Technology”, Tracey Wiltgen, Executive Director of the Mediation Center of the Pacific, explained why online mediation can be so useful when parties live on different islands, in different states or even countries.

Online mediation, however, can be very useful to new and experienced community mediators as well. Because it allows them to practice and improve their mediation skills by participating in online mediation simulations with other mediators.

  • New Mediators – They can start practicing what they learned as soon as they complete their basic or advanced mediation training
  • Experienced Mediators – During those online simulations they can test and experiment with new techniques they never tried before, and find out immediately from other mediators if they worked (or didn’t work) and why

Typically, online mediation simulations consist of 4 parts:

  1. 60-min mediation of a commercial, family or workplace dispute – with one mediator playing that role, and the other 2 mediators playing the parties’ roles
  2. 30/60-min debriefing. The 3 mediators and their coach analyze and reflect on what happened during the mediation – what worked well (or not so well), and why
  3. Video recording of the entire simulation. By watching themselves, mediators can better relate what happened during the mediation to what was discussed during the debriefing session
  4. Video sharing – Mediators can learn not only by participating in simulations, but also by watching the same case mediated by someone else — other mediators who applied a different method, approach, or style

What’s Next

Instead of just talking about how online mediation can be useful to new and experienced community mediators, we are going to prove it. In the next 2-3 months:

  • We’ll run and video record some online mediation simulations with mediators from 3 NAFCM mediation centers, who will be connected from their home or office with a PC, Mac, Ipad, Iphone or Android device
  • Those mediators will present and discuss their experience –e.g. what they learned during our simulations; what they liked about them; what surprised them; how was their very first experience with online mediation — during a NAFCM webinar whose title and date will be announced soon

Giuseppe Leone