5. Portfolios in general

5.1. What are the benefits of using portfolios?

  • Help learners take control of their learning and their lives by reflecting on their activities and planning future directions.
  • Provide a learner-centred rather than course-centred view of learning.
  • Support coherent management of a variety of achievements and pieces of work.
  • Give appropriate views of achievement and learners’ work to appropriate people, for example, the learner, teachers, mentors, careers advisers, potential employers, and educational institutions to whom the learner is applying.
  • Support ‘just in time’ learning – which type of learning is needed at this moment in time.

At the same time, it is very important that students are motivated to use portfolios. Motivation for use often requires a strong element of ‘what is in it for me?’

Identifying added-value in use of the portfolio will increase the likelihood of student engagement.

You should use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behaviour to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

5.2. What are the advantages of using an ePortfolio?

ePortfolios offer a number of advantages:

  • Collect and reflect on your work
  • Save educational and work experience
  • Create a plan of study and work online
  • Showcase your achievements
  • Design your own learning experiences
  • Be responsible for your learning and take ownership of it
  • Have a fuller picture of your achievements, within school and outside
  • Show examples of performance assessment
  • Show your learning evidence in context
  • Share your learning experiences more easily with others

Adapted from Wikieducator

5.3. What processes do I need to create an ePortfolio?

  • What is the purpose of the portfolio: learning, assessment, professional development, or employment reasons?
  • Who decides what should be included in a portfolio: the student compiling the portfolio or the people for whom it is being created? How prescriptive should guidelines for creating a portfolio be?
  • How should the pieces of evidence in the portfolio be organised: around themes chosen by the student, around programme goals, or around achievement standards?
  • What kinds of evidence are acceptable as pieces of evidence? What should and should not be included in the portfolio?
  • What kind of input should tutors, lecturers, and peers have throughout the process of constructing the portfolio? Should there be a lot of involvement, or just a little?
  • How frequently should students be expecting feedback on their progress?
  • How should the portfolio be assessed: through very specific evaluation criteria and grading rubrics, or a more general pass-fail system?
  • What should happen to the portfolio after it is finished: should there be some kind of public acknowledgement or presentation of students’ work?

Source: http://a18.video2.blip.tv/2900001323616/Wolsingham-TheEPortfolioProcess332.wmv (not accessible anymore)

5.4. What is the difference between an ePortfolio system and a learning management system?

An ePortfolio system is aimed at giving an individual a personal space on the web with the ability to give access to selected content to certain people. The individual controls this.

A learning management system (LMS) is where an instructor controls the content for individuals and for how long this will be accessible.

ePortfolio and LMSs overlap in a number of features. It is up to the teachers to decide when the LMS or the ePortfolio would be used.