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An ePortfolio can be a tool or technology, a practice, a pedagogical model, an assessment method, and a framework for learning (Chen & Black, 2010). An ePortfolio is a concept that views the process and product as a purposeful collection by the learner of digital artefacts (such as ideas, reflections, feedback, etc) articulating aspects of learning.

With an ePortfolio, the student is in charge: the student decides who can view the ePortfolio, what artefacts get added, how it is designed, and so on. In this way, ePortfolios “are a way to generate learning as well as document learning” (Basken, 2008).

It should be noted that there is not a single understanding or approach to the development and purpose of an ePortfolio. This is largely due to different didactic and pedagogic approaches to ePortfolio development and use. It is possible to distinguish between three broad approaches: the use of e-Portfolios as an assessment tool, the use of e-Portfolios as a tool for professional or career development planning (CDP), and a wider understanding of e-Portfolios as a tool for active learning. ePortfolios could be defined as a purposeful collection of student (or teacher) work that illustrates efforts, progress, and achievement in one or more areas over time. An electronic portfolio uses digital technologies, allowing the portfolio developer to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types (audio, video, graphics, text). A standards-based portfolio uses a database or hypertext links to clearly show the relationship

ePortfolios are based on social constructivism, which proposes, in part, that learning happens most effectively when students construct systems of knowledge for themselves, rather than simply having information presented.

When learners are requested to create their own ePortfolios, they gain a broader sense of what they have learned, and towards which goals it can help. They can see their learning achievements. between standards or goals, artefacts, and reflections. The learner’s reflections are the rationale that specific artefacts are evidence of achieving the stated standards or goals. An electronic portfolio is a reflective tool that demonstrates growth over time.” (Barrett, 2004)

Here are six benefits of ePortfolios for learners:

1. Recognizing learning

2. Recording learning

3. Reflecting on learning

4. Validating learning

5.  Planning new learning

6.  Assessing learning

 The University of Connecticut says: “When evaluating an e-Portfolio, multiple approaches can be taken. The first is to evaluate achievement of the defined learning objectives. The second is to evaluate the reflectiveness of the e-Portfolio. The last is to evaluate the e-Portfolio as a whole. These can be done with rubrics, checklists, or other documentation, but qualitative evaluation of learning should also be considered.”

But e-Portfolios probably work best for formative assessment. Giving regular rich feedback to students as they develop their ePortfolios can help their learning. 

 Chen, Helen L.; Black, Thomas C (2010) Using E-Portfolios to Support an Undergraduate Learning Career: An Experiment with Academic Advising, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v33 n4 2010

 Basken, P. (2008, April). Electronic portfolios may answer calls for more accountability. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Attwell, G.(2005) E-portfolio: The DNA of the Personal Learning Environment?. https

://www.researchgate.net/publication/285120025_E-portfolio_The_DNA_of_the_Personal_Learning_Environment [accessed Aug 11 2022].

Barrett H. (2004) Electronic Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning

, http://electronicportfolios.org/digistory/epstory.html [accessed Aug 11 2022]

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