"The tool should be timed so that it is introduced when the learners need it – allowing time for familiarisation and addressing of any IT skills issues"
Quote from Comport case study
Learners and tutors need an appropriate level of IT skills to fully engage with the e-portfolio. From the FILE-PASS project and student response to systems in the ISLE project, it emerged that this should not be underestimated. In some cases some of the learners in the FILE-PASS and in the Kent PLPP projects were reluctant to engage with the e-portfolio because they had poor IT skills. A programme of IT skills development for tutors and learners (Stefani et al 2007, ePISTLE: executive summary and lesson plans) could include:
- computer basics – creating, saving and uploading files to a network area as well as updates on using basic packages such as word-processing and PowerPoint
- multimedia – creating presentations with audio and videos
- computer graphics – how to use computer graphics programs
Learners will need to be introduced to the e-portfolio system and then have access to a range of support channels. In the UK Centre for Legal Education (UKCLE) e-portfolio project, learners requested more training in the e-portfolio system. The myWORLD, Kent PLPP andePISTLE projects recommended that any new software must be available at the start of the course if learners are to be encouraged to use it from the beginning without it feeling like an additional workload and to ensure that it is perceived as genuinely part of their learning journey at the institution.
The Comport project reported on a situation where the e-portfolio was introduced late and without being fully-tested which led to ongoing problems and delays and consequently user negativity on the whole experience. Some projects have indicated that e-portfolio engagement may provide a springboard for learners to develop their IT skills and demonstrate these (Amber & Czech 2002).
'It’s ‘… not just technical, not about how to use a tool, but getting learners to work through a teaching or learning activity'
Taken from emerging lessons section of guide
Learners will need to be introduced to the e-portfolio system and then have access to a range of support channels. One such support channel was provided in the WOLF project in the shape of a Technical Help Forum to support learners in the use of the technology. This facility was then replicated across the HE provision of the HELLO project.