Interactive SOAP Notes

Interactive SOAP Notes

Networked learning communities in research settings provide students with many venues in which to help-seek or make research progress, but it is difficult for mentors to gain visibility into how a student is working outside of coaching meetings, which can reduce the efficacy of coaching. Furthermore, mentors check in on mentees often, but forgetting the current status of the student and her project and how she has been working recently, as well as missing opportunities for follow up, pose difficulties in helping a mentee to work through project and metacognitive issues. A mentor may plan tasks for herself and her mentee, but forget about the plans altogether, or miss a chance to coach a mentee on a pertinent topic at the next meeting. The result is that the pair miss opportunities for progress. 

To support research mentors in improving recall of mentees’ project status and recent coaching, awareness of mentees’ working process, and to scaffold coaching across a quarter, we have developed a structured note system called Interactive SOAP Notes that mentors use during weekly coaching meetings with mentees.

Interactive SOAP Notes builds on SOAP Notes, used for diagnostic purposes in the medical field, to “diagnose” a student’s working processes in a given week and create opportunities to resolve these issues. Interactive SOAP Notes seeks to ease the burden of awareness and follow-up on the mentor with a structured note system that creates synthesized reminders to reinforce memory before meetings with mentees and to create opportunities for midweek check-ins. Interactive SOAP notes currently supports needs tracking with reminders for mentors and mentees and a generated Needs Tracker shown to mentors before upcoming meetings, encapsulating a mentor’s recent concerns and plans. Previous iterations allowed mentors to script events and opportunities for check-in.

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Figure 1: Instructions for use of SOAP notes paper prototype (S22)

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Figure 2: Start of technical SOAP notes prototype (W22)

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Figure 3: Post-SOAP form for Interactive SOAP Notes mentee (me) (S22)

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Figure 4: Needs Tracker generated the following week from the post-SOAP form shown above. (S22)



  • Haoqi Zhang

Ph.D. Students

  • Kapil Garg

Masters and Undergraduate Students

  • 🎓 Charlotte Jones
  • 🎓 Sydney Smith