The IMI training criteria were initially designed for the delivery of in-person training of mediators. When the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic began, IMI started receiving requests from mediation training providers, asking:
- whether online-only programs could be recognised by IMI as ‘Certified Mediator Training Programs’ (CMTPs)
- whether training delivered via existing CMTPs, out of necessity being conducted online, could be recognised as meeting IMI’s standards during the pandemic
IMI recognised that it did not know how long this crisis would last, and it wished to support its mediators and the organisations with which it is associated. To that end, the IMI’s Training and Competency Assessment Taskforce agreed that organisations that had existing Certified Mediator Training Programs would be permitted to temporarily deliver that training online if they:
- submitted a methodology document indicating how they will ensure they are delivering the same program to the same standards, identifying challenges and how they will be overcome, and;
- offered an in-person role-play component to be undertaken in future once it becomes possible.
Only once that in-person role-play component had been completed would course graduates be entitled to become IMI Qualified Mediators.
However, even preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, IMI had received questions about the recognition of online-only training. This refers to delivery of initial mediation training online (rather than in-person), as opposed to training specifically in online mediation, which is associated with IMI’s existing ODR competency criteria.
IMI invited training providers who had made the move online and mediators who had taken the training online to provide feedback on protocols and lessons learned. Based on those learnings and discussions, IMI has decided to accept training delivered in part or entirely online as meeting the standards required of IMI Certified Mediator Training Programs.
To this end, the CMTP criteria have been updated in draft. The process from here is to collect feedback from the public. Any comments will then be addressed by the IMI Training and Assessment Taskforce. Criteria will then be finalised, following which IMI will begin to recognise training that is delivered entirely online. At that point, organisations can begin to submit applications or amended applications for recognition of their training that is delivered entirely online in the specific countries, cultures, and languages in which that organisation is competent. (To this last, organisations should see here.)
Summary of changes
- The minimum 40 hours’ course duration does not include asynchronous learning.
- Online courses can have a maximum of 18 students, as opposed to the in-person maximum of 30.
- Minimum logistical requirements for providers and for course participants are document in item 6, including recommendations around platforms, pacing, attendance, computer skills, and locations.
- Text to the effect that role-playing, coaching and feedback must taken place in-person has been deleted.
- Text precluding online training from recognition has been removed.
- Where courses are delivered online-only, participants must complete an in-person role play with people such as friends, family, col