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H808 – ePortfolios – drivers and case studies

October 3, 2010

In this activity we were asked to work together to identify some of the factors currently propelling developments in personal development planning (PDP) in the UK and it equivalents in Europe, the USA and elsewhere. It was a collaborative activity starting 18 September until 1 October. We had to use a drivers template, a table with three columns, one for the regions, key drivers and comments. One example was given for the UK government (DfES). JISC eportfolio projects and Institutional eportfolio were suggests for the UK and we were free to choose case studies for the other regions. My peers came up with case studies from around the world. The main key drivers identified are:

  • widening participation
  • lifelong learning
  • employability and skills
  • internationalisation
  • retention

identified in several JISC studies (UK).

Lifelong learning strategy, elearning strategy, learning transcripts, Personal Development Records are the key drivers named by the UK Government (DfES).
The need to have transferable/portable material for life-long learning is a key driver from the US Government campaign ‘No child left behind’. ePortfolios are important for students career planning, they need to provide PDP for achievement records and richer means of self-presentation to future employers.
Australia‘s universities seeking tools for reflective learning and skills assessment and another drivers is to keep up with Europe to allow Australian qualifications to be recognised in Europe.
New Zealand also wants to keep up with Europe and they want to prevent dropouts from intermediate education by moving to a learner-centred approach and personalizing education along with the use of technology. Interestingly Mahara, the well know Open Source ePortfolio tool, is developed in NZ.
ePortfolios use has been promoted in Canada since 1997 by the eLearning forum Learning Innovations Forum (LlfLA). They attempt to establish use of ePortfolios for linking recognition to prior learning, lifelong learning, education and training and human capital management.
Our group researched other European regions like the Netherlands, Finland, Italy and found similar drivers. The research in Nigeria found that the strategic use of ICT in general in higher education (HE) might help to increase its capacity.

I found the Europortfolio quite interesting as they proposed ‘ePortfolio for all by 2010‘.

The relevance of ePortolios for education and learning is not yet fully recognized here in Germany. Working in a vocational school here in Germany, were I teach mainly full-time healthcare classes, I have to say that we are far from ePortfolios or other web 2.0 technologies. Though there is a technology campaign to introduce e.g. Moodle in schools, does only a minority of the teachers use it, and they do not draw on the affordances the tools offer. Moodle is often used simply as a repository for some work sheets. Sometimes Mahara is applied, but that is seldom. I assume that the use of ePortfolios might be higher in HE, but I somehow doubt that.

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