ePortfolios are a form of assessment that focuses more on developing learners reflective skills and encourages them to evaluate themselves.
An ePortfolio requires the following 3 elements (https://youtu.be/xvqBORISA5k)
- supporting materials that showcase your learning, such as pictures, videos, reports, etc.
- communicate your skills, experiences and learning to your audience
- reflect on how you achieved the course outcomes
Things like online resumes do not contain all three of the elements, as they generally don’t contain the reflection element.
ePortfolios have a focus on Assessment for learning, rather than Assessment of learning, meaning the they are designed to help the learner learn, rather than for the purposes of providing a grade.
Assessment for learning is the idea that assessment should take place during the learning process, rather than at the end of a course or unit. The focus is not on the quantity, but rather the quality of what the learner has learnt and should be designed to help learners improve. Assessment for learning should assist the learner in becoming an independent learner with the ability to assess their own work. (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009).
Learners are required to look at the course outcomes, reflected on how they have achieved them and document this on their ePortfolio. Having learners reflect on the outcomes allows them to own their own development and evaluate if they have achieved the outcomes or not, rather than being told. The reflection also allows them to make sense of the learning and make connections between blocks of content (Pelliccione & Dixon, 2008).
Douglas Myers, executive director PLA Centre Halifax, talks about how ePortfolios captures the informal as well as the formal learning. (https://youtu.be/qPskeVP8Nd0)
According to Elizabeth Cleark, ePortfolios have become more popular over the last few years due to 4 factors:
- Technology improvements – pretty much anyone can easily create an engaging looking eportfolio – with social media such as facebook students are more comfortable creating digital representations of themselves
- pedagogical change in higher education moving towards student-centred, active learning
- It has become easier for students to change educational institutions and take courses from multiple institutions, therefore the eportfolio acts as a passport to document all the change
- Government requirements to demonstrate results to justify funding
This article also gives a good list of 9 best practices for instructors.
I think there is a definitely a place for ePortfolios in my teaching, as I am not concerned with learners passing or failing a test, but whether or not they are able to use the information providing in training to do their jobs. Asking learners to create a ePortfolio and demonstrate their learning can be a good way to see where there are gaps in training.
There could also be value in me creating my own ePortfolio for my professional development. This could be a way for me to document ways in which I can practically implement the theory I learn in courses and readings. Examples of artifacts could be evaluation forms, assessment implementation ideas and curriculum templates and examples.
Fenwick, T. J. & Parsons, J. (2009). The Art of Evaluation: A Resource for Educators and Trainers. Toronto, Ontario: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
Pelliccione, L. & Dixon, K. (2008). ePortfolios: beyond assessment to empowerment in the learning landscape, ascilite, retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org/conferences/melbourne08/procs/pelliccione.pdf