The success [of the e-portfolios] did not seem to depend on the level of the learner, their age or gender but on marrying the enthusiasm of staff with the appropriate software for the learner.
FILE-PASS final report, P.4
Tutor engagement is vital to the successful implementation of e-portfolios. Learners will not commit to developing and maintaining an e-portfolio if there is no continuing support provided by tutors.
The advantages of e-portfolios as viewed by tutors include:
- raising learner self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem
- helping the learner to become more independent and autonomous
- focusing the learning on the learning outcomes
- facilitating in learners’ relevant professional attitudes and responsibilities
- opportunities for collaborative working and social computing
- providing a more structured and focused approach to managing personal development for learners
- preparing learners for the ‘competency-based world of work’
- assisting ‘fragile’ learners to organise themselves and their work
- helping learners to articulate/present their skills and achievements to third parties, for example at interviews which may help with career progression
- learners being able to include evidence of a wider range of artefacts including multimedia
Tutor enthusiasm, interest and commitment are essential for learner engagement with e-portfolios. Staff development, protected time to familiarise themselves with the e-portfolio and a strong institutional vision will ensure that tutors are able to implement e-portfolios more effectively. JISC in ‘e-Portfolios can really make a difference‘ show how exploring e-portfolio use alongside learners enables each to learn from the other, with some unexpected gains. Peter Lumsden outlines how tutors have been encouraged to engage with PDP at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).
At the regional forum as part of the EPICS project, there was less interest in PDP amongst more research-led as opposed to the more teaching-oriented institutions. Tutors may also find it difficult to integrate e-portfolios and PDP into the curriculum because of competing demands in an already over-full curricula. Janet Scammell discussed such concern in her presentation on ‘The challenges and potential of PDP for health professional learners’, at aPDP4Life dissemination event in April 2007.
At Queen Margaret University, a partner in the Blossom Project, it was found that staff who are required to demonstrate CPD as part of their continuing professional accreditation, not only employed PebblePad for their own use but were able to enthuse their learners to engage with e-portfolios.
- 1 Jisc projects, Dartmouth’s experience of e-portfolios, Hartnell-Young (2008),Siemens 2004; Love et al. 2004; Gathercoal et al. 2002; Cotterill et al. 2004; Amber & Czech 2002; Oradini and Saunders.