In emerging international standards, IMI first assembles an independent and representative taskforce to consider relevant issues and commence drafting. This goes to the public for feedback prior to finalisation, and potential implementation for IMI-recognised programs.
The training criteria were first launched in 2017, and IMI announced the possibility for quality training programs to be recognised by IMI beginning January 2019. People completing approved programs could be submitted to IMI and then be recognised as ‘IMI Qualified Mediators’.
In October 2019, we advised that the guidelines had been designed for the training of mediators who would mainly be mediating in a face-to-face physical environment. Language was tweaked accordingly, at which point IMI said it would not be recognising training conducted entirely online.
When the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic began, IMI started receiving increased requests from mediation training providers, asking whether IMI would revisit its stance on online-only programs, and whether training delivered via existing IMI-recognised programs, 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 was associated. To that end, the IMI’s Training and Competency Assessment Taskforce agreed that organisations that have existing Certified Mediator Training Programs would be permitted to temporarily deliver that training online if they submitted a methodology document indicating how they would 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. (News item here.)
However, even preceding the pandemic, IMI had received questions about the recognition of online-only training. This referred specifically to delivering 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.
To this end, 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, the IMI decided to accept training delivered in part or entirely online as meeting the standards required of IMI Certified Mediator Training Programs.
The guidelines were then again reviewed. Reviews were first performed by the Taskforce, then sent for public feedback and consideration, and then finalised in the format found on the criteria page. The guidelines now apply equally to programs that deliver training in-person, in hybrid formats, and online.
Overview of changes
4. Course duration: Where courses are online-only, the minimum of 40 hours may include up to 10% asynchronous learning undertaken as part of the course.
5. Group size: It is recommended that courses, whether online or in-person