Effective practice with e-portfolios
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e-Portfolios are not a new concept. In various guises, digital presentations of skills and competences, online records of achievement and action plans with opportunities for reflection have been in use in education for nearly a decade. Tools and systems built for these purposes are now numerous. So what is new about e-portfolios?
During the first decade of the 21st century, there has been increasing interest in the potential of e-learning tools and technologies to support more learner-centred and personalised forms of learning, prompted in part by national strategies for e-learning and initiatives in favour of lifelong and personalised learning. The Burgess report, the Leitch review of skills, QAA guidelines for HE Progress Files and the QCA blueprint for delivering e-assessment – and, more recently, the embedding of personal learning and thinking skills into the newly developed post-14 curriculum in England – have all prompted interest in the benefits that electronic portfolios may bring to personal development planning (PDP) and to 21st century models of learning, teaching and assessment.
Initiatives and national policies can drive forward an agenda for change, but the real test comes at the point of use. Emerging, often powerful evidence from practitioners and learners of the value of developing e-portfolios provides another strong rationale for reconsidering the role of e-portfolios in learning and teaching. Cutting-edge research and development projects funded by JISC and other agencies also indicate further potential that is not yet fully exploited – for example, in facilitating the transition between institutions and stages of education, and in supporting staff appraisal and applications for professional accreditation. But perhaps the most pressing reason for taking a closer look at e-portfolios is the indication that use of these tools can promote more profound forms of learning.
This publication uses the outcomes of recent significant projects and examples from current practice to explore how e-portfolios can add value to personalised and reflective models of learning. Drawing on the work of key national agencies and organisations and on excellent practice and recent initiatives by institutions and professional bodies, the guide illustrates a wide variety of e-portfolio use across further, higher and continuing education.
The audiences of this publication will be those who use or support others’ use of e-portfolios: learners, practitioners and managers in further and higher education; professional bodies; and those involved in initial teacher training and in the management and implementation of personal development planning.
This publication has been produced in conjunction with an e-Portfolios infoKit and associated case studies produced by JISC infoNet