Transferability of e-Portfolios in Education

Produced by Dr Derek Young and Kylie Lipczynski
Description Project was funded by JISC DELL II.

Project Introduction

In the field of Education there is the requirement for learners undertaking Initial Teacher Education and PGCE to compile a portfolio of work which they can then take forward as they move into a professional teaching career, and use as the basis for their ongoing Continuing Professional Development. With the wholesale introduction of the electronic medium there is currently a wide range of e-portfolio and PDP software available. However, uniformity in design and content is at best limited. Universities tend to make unilateral decisions as to which option to adopt and the best scenario at present is a number of colleges franchised to a central university, or a group of regional based universities, which might adopt a similar design. But there is in general a problem with transferability across sector and between institution and workplace. Now is the time to look at what is in use within the field of Education and identify common ground which might be used to introduce a measure of standardisation and transferability.

The aim of this project is to undertake an investigation of existing e-portfolio models and their use within the field of Education which will:

  • Review existing motivational strategies;
  • Identify alternative implementation models for PDP in Education departments;
  • Explore the potential for cross-fertilisation of models and strategies between Education and other professional disciplines.

The objectives are to:

  • Report on current use and integration of e-portfolios as part of the learners Professional Development Planning (PDP) on Education courses delivered within a Higher Education Institution (HEI) or delivered as Higher Education (HE) within a Further Education College (FEC);
  • Collect exemplars of ‘best practice’ e-portfolios from Education departments in both HEIs and FECs in order to inform the sector;
  • Collate and present informed recommendations for the future integration of e-portfolios within CPD for practitioners within the Education profession.

The outcomes from the project will be a number of recommendations and guidelines for the development of a common sector-wide e-portfolio template model. A core template around which institutions, learners, employers and professional bodies can ‘hang’ their particular needs requirements.

A cross discipline comparative study focused on the use of e-portfolios across the various professional disciplines will be conducted. E-portfolios have been introduced or are being introduced as a required part of PDP/CPD within several professional bodies such as Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine – not only for students but also in some areas as a Skills Council or Registering Authority requirement for ongoing CPD.

There is the opportunity to provide cross-fertilisation by identifying ‘best practice’ within other professional bodies and evaluating their transferability to the field of Education.

Phase one comprises the initial research study and sector surveys, the creation of resource databases, and the collection of exemplars. In this phase the following parallel research studies will be carried out:

  • Cross-sectional study looking at Education programmes delivered in HEIs and delivered as HE in FECs to identify the various designs and levels of e-portfolios used by those learners undertaking a variety courses in Education and highlighting points of commonality, differences and barriers across the sector;
  • Desk-based study of other UK professional bodies.

In Phase Two a series of learner evaluations of e-portfolio components and design, as identified in Phase One, will be undertaken at a number of HEIs. Outcomes of interest to be evaluated in Phase Two will be identified from Phase One and may include:

  • Ease of use;
  • Transferability across courses;
  • Transferability across institutions;
  • Education/professional interface;
  • Relevance to current and future CPD.

The results of this study hold implications for a number of key areas which are particularly relevant to the use of e-learning in the field of Education: HE in FE, CPD/PDP, and Lifelong Learning within the profession and standardisation and transferability of portfolios.

Also available for download is a paper written by Derek Young on this work and presented at SOLSTICE Conference 2008, at Edge Hill University on 5th June 2008. The conference title was 'eLearning and Learning Environments for the Future'