Monday, January 21, 2008

Storing, Sharing, Reflecting, Learning using E-Portfolios

I’ve been interested in the concept of an e-Portfolio for a while now, and I feel that 2008 might be the ‘Year of e-Portfolios’ in the e-learning world in Oz (do I feel a ‘prediction’ coming on??).

The possibility of having a ‘space’ online where you can store all of your ‘digital assets’, and improve your personal and professional development through a reflective process, really appeals.

There are many uses of an e-Portfolio:

- As a personal digital diary
- As a lifelong learning organizer
- As a record of events or journeys
- As a CV/resume
- As a creative portfolio
- As a project management tool
- As an individual course diary
- As a class project organizer
- As an academic record
- As a student desktop

Source: Clint Smith, e-Works – Elluminate Presentation at the Learnscope SA Final State Workshop 16/11/07

So what does an e-Portfolio actually look like?

Well this blog is one example of an e-Portfolio – and the web offers bucket loads of free and open sourced ‘spaces’ to develop your e-Portfolio – LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Pageflakes, Protopage etc and these environments are being well utilized by people to ‘show’n’tell’, and a few less are using their ‘space’ to facilitate their personal/professional learning planning, and are otherwise known as a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Then there are the more ‘standardised’ or ‘institutionalised’ versions available, such at TAFE VC’s e-Portfolio (which uses the open sourced software Zorg) and Queensland University of Technology’s Student Portfolio - where templates are used, and either the Institute or Lecturer aids the development of the e-Portfolio.

So do ‘standarised’ e-Portfolios act in a similar role to a Learning Management System (like Moodle) – by providing a ‘structure’ and a ‘comfort zone’ for e-Portfolio ‘beginners’, which is supported by some “hand holding” through the ‘storing, sharing and reflecting’ process. Then once these ‘beginners’ feel more comfortable with this process – they can then ‘branch out’ and develop their own PLE???

Will ‘standardised/institutionalised’ e-Portfolios offer a sedge way for traditional educational institutes and industries to enter the e-Portfolio/Personal Learning Environment arena with their students and staff?

What are the benefits of a standardized e-Portfolio over a PLE?

Can e-Portfolios aid the Recognition of Prior Learning / Skills Recognition process – thereby creating a ‘proactive’ process of storing information about what you can do – rather than the ‘reactive’ process of chasing up this evidence?

I’m hoping to attend the Australian e-Portfolio Symposium & Showcase at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane in a couple of weeks – to learn how others are utilising e-Portfolios/PLEs.

Also see earlier ‘e-Portfolios for Staff Development’ posting

PS: this is a comment I received from Jacinta Gascoigne on Facebook

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