We live in an ever-changing world where educational institutions are facing many challenges as they move from a ‘mass production model’ of education to models which cater for mass customisation and tailoring the experience for the individual. This means educational institutions are needing to offer their learners flexible ways to gaining a qualification.
Lifelong learning skills are recognised as an important requirement for an individual’s personal and career development, as well as contributing to a nation’s economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability.
At the same time, there is a the call for ‘quality in education’ where educational institutions are needing to demonstrate to regulatory bodies and other key stakeholders that they have the required processes or “standards” in place to achieve good educational (and employability) outcomes for their learners.
This means educational institutions are looking for creative ways of doing new things, hopefully based on a strength based model which takes the best of what they already do and improves upon it.
Eportfolios are said to be one of these new ways of supporting quality education as they provide a means to support successful learning and learning pathways by enabling learners to manage their lifelong learning records.
The use of e-portfolios in Australian tertiary is an ‘emerging landscape’ with pockets of excellent practice happening. The main emerging uses are:
- reflective practice/assessment or self assessment to help learners develop lifelong learning skills
- development of individual learning plans or personal/professional development plans to enable individuals to better manage their own life/career development
- recognition of existing skills and knowledge through gathering evidence for:
- recognition of prior learning (RPL)
- gaining entry into courses and/or gaining credit/articulation toward a higher qualification
- supporting mandated continuous professional development and accreditation process
- workplace learning and assessment/work integrated learning
- re-engaging individuals to participate in the workforce and/or increasing their skill/knowledge base
Support for this emerging eportfolio practice includes:
- an Eportfolios Community of Practice (Epcop)
- Resources on how to get started with developing your own eportfolios as well as examples of other people’s eportfolios (from the EpCop Massive Open Online Course)
- the national ePortfolios Australia Conference 2012
Please share your eportfolio experiences and resources here.