e-Portfolios & professional associations

PARN Global News Article - 6 September 2011

e-Portfolios & professional associations

Application to professional body membership and the renewal process demonstrating Personal Development Planning (PDP) can often be a time-consuming, paper-based and paper chasing exercise.

The result is a box file (or even several) of documents accompanying a completed form that cannot readily show the individual’s learning and development. There may be so much paper to sift through that selections may be made that do not do justice to the individual.

Moving from this paper-based system to the electronic system of an e-portfolio can save time for all involved. More importantly, an e-portfolio can support reflection and planning, remain a secure permanent record of a person’s lifelong learning journey and therefore provide a rich view of the individual’s personal learning journey and plans.

This article provides an introduction to e-portfolios and how professional bodies can use them and support the professional as a lifelong learner.

What is an e-Portfolio?

An e-Portfolio is a collection of digital artefacts articulating learning (both formal and informal), experiences, achievements and plans that are created by an individual. These artefacts can be digitally stored images, transcripts from education and training, documents, videos, mind maps, emails, and copies of online discussions. In fact anything electronic!

e-Portfolios can provide scaffolding, a supporting framework, to assist lifelong learners by guiding learning and professional development over time through reflection on their ongoing learning, achievements and experiences, and on their goals and opportunities.

Also an e-portfolio may be used to collect assessment evidence and record achievement for National Vocational Qualifications. This article concentrates on the former type of e-portfolio.

e-Portfolios to Support the Professional

A professional can use an e-portfolio for a variety of purposes; for example, application for professional body membership, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), or application to study.

As an e-portfolio is a personal reflection and contains items created by, or owned by, an individual, then the e-portfolio as a whole should be ‘owned’ by the individual, not the a professional body or employer, and as such be under the individual’s control – what is stored, personal reflections and who can access what.

But this need not mean more work for a busy professional. A report by PARN in 2009 found that 84% of professionals use the Internet for research and learning to support their work - so what could be easier than recording activity and reflections at the same time?

Find out more

Keep reading more about e-portfolios here:

If you would like to talk to JISC Advance about e-portfolios, please contact Kim Ansell:

E: [email protected]
W: www.jiscadvance.ac.uk