ePortfolios: useful in web 2.0 times?

The [UK] Assurance Agency (QAA) defines Personal Development Planning (PDP) as

a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.

Ideally, an ePortfolio would help a range of users to identity and manage learning progress: the learner her/himself, potential colleagues and employers, teachers/lecturers, administrators, course/programme managers in educational institutions. Below I have embedded the discussion which is also available on

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Tags: , ,

About Britta Bohlinger, CFE

Founder and Director of RisikoKlár in Iceland. Native German, global perspective - previously in London and Berlin.

8 responses to “ePortfolios: useful in web 2.0 times?”

  1. Ray Tolley says :

    Hi, Britta,

    First, let me admit that I am a ‘digital native’ – I’m 66 yrs old and have enjoyed every moment of my progression through ‘gas-valve’ amplifiers, transistors and on and on…

    However, I’m somewhat surprised by you statements on e-Portfolios. Your references are seriously out of date. Much has happened both in the technologies and also in the understanding of Teaching and Learning.

    No longer is the e-Portfolio seen as the passport to employment or just a tool for CPD. Teachers in Primary schools have been using traditional Portfolios or ‘showboxes’ for decades and these have naturally been adopted in their electronic format. The UK’s 14-19 Diploma courses or Australia’s VET courses all use e-Portfolios in one format or another.

    Unfortunately the regurgtation of outdated speculations as so often produced by HE students does little to help the adoption of e-Portfolios for Lifelong, Lifewide Learning and Leisure.

    Kind Regards,
    Ray Tolley

    • britbohlinger says :

      Interesting comments, Ray – and great blog you are running. You may have noticed that digital native is a generation-bound term, so with all due respect, you won’t fall into the category (nor do I , not born in the past 2 decades).

      It’s good to hear a lot has changed and improved – we as Open University students in the UK are not focusing so much on teaching practice in this degree, most of us have careers outside teaching, and not just a few years of them.

      To me, ePortfolios need to fit in with web 2.0 practices and they need to fulfil requirements set by industries which have nothing to do with teaching (think financial services, small NGOs, solicitors, for instance). However, I completely agree with the request to update references, will pass it on to my university.

  2. Ray Tolley says :

    Hi, Britta, Thank you for your kind response, I did feel that I had been a bit rude to you. I would be interested to hear more of your views on e-Portfolios and industry.

    I appreciate that I am coming from an education background but in part of one of my presentations I discuss some of the problems of take-up in ‘industry’ :


    Ray T

  3. britbohlinger says :

    Hi Ray, Thanks for connecting on slideshare. com – I have updated the original post by adding a few lines and converting it into on scribd.com . Thanks for raising critical questions and for your clarifying comment, I noticed, I had taken for granted that readers would see my position more easily. Hence, I thought a brief intro/abstract of my intentions would help. Coursework excerpts are [required to be posted on personal blogs, yet] interfering with my personal ‘politics of blogging’, I see now. I will need to make an effort and bridge university requirements and communication with all those who kindly pop by and pay my blog a visit – good to be challenged.

  4. Les Hereward says :

    Hi Britta,

    Interesting Blog…I have really only just started poking around e-portfolio. At the moment I remain to be convinced they will become widespread and relevant outside primary and secondary education. Questions of confidentiality, ownership, choice (as in PLE), and interoperability also remain to be addressed. Even if we take all this out of the equation this seems to be something that has only (barely) survived due to downward push from government or quasi government bodies. This seems almost the opposite of Web 02 which has a feel of being pushed upwards as it were.

    Hey ho it is bed time I have 2 long lectures tomorrow…BTW I side with Ray on Digital Immigrants…I think the evidence has rather trashed the idea of a Google Generation…maybe some of us are ‘immigrants’ who speak the lingo better than the native speakers if we have to stick with the metaphor. If you follow such things Prensky’s current work on cyborgs is interesting.

    • britbohlinger says :

      Hi Les, Thanks for jumping in – yes, interesting to what degree the pull towards nearly opposing ends has become obvious. ePortfolios seem to simply lack the drive and dynamic blogs have been embraced with, hence, development lacks behind. But then, I have recently come across some smart versions of personal ePortfolios (they looks like websites, so where exactly is the line?) and it does seem to depend on the flexibility of the assessing institutions and the technical skills of the individuals student too. Clearly, employers are not that easily to convince, and I feel there is the greatest weakness located. All those reflections and artefacts and papers are nice to look at – do they really prove a student is ready for a certain job? No, and we know that employers are still going to assess individually – when it comes to skills in the age of copy&paste (including HTML code) you need to check as in other areas, say language skills: you would want to hear the person speak, not just post some brief articles. And no, it won’t be sufficient to upload an mp3 on a public ePortfolio, I reckon.
      As to Digital Natives – the discussion started off based on a term and project coined by Harvard University, c.f. my About page – here is more:
      The underlying idea of immigrants and natives is ideologically laden and certainly problematic, but it’s one useful framework when it comes to differentiating people who were born into expectations of 24/7 access and connectivity and those who witnessed time with analogue devices and landlines and no web at all. The rest remains subject to discourse.
      Prensky? Have to check that out. Thx for this. Also, your blog looks interesting – subscribed.

  5. Ray Tolley says :

    Hi, Britta,

    If I may respond to Les’s comment “Questions of confidentiality, ownership, choice and interoperability also remain to be addressed.” Les, all of these HAVE been addressed in a well-defined e-Portfolio such as eFolio. My frustration is that still too many schools and colleges are promoting a simple blog as an e-Portfolio and then complaining about the lack of e-safety etc.

    Perhaps I will expand on these in my own blog!

    Best Wishes,
    Ray T.

  6. britbohlinger says :

    Hi Ray
    I’ve checked some of the available eFolio sites but as far as I see the software was upgraded and the showcases are still not convincing me that this kind of software is any better than a good blog (which allows me to embed video, papers via scribd, powerpoint presentations via slideshare etc) plus all the power (say spam filter) behind provided by a host such as WordPress – all for free. Here is the Minnesota eFolio video that presents their showcases.
    A simple [external] blog is a lot more individual than any standardised software (standardised for assessment, not for creative students) – and in this sense, it brings value to an individual’s ePortfolio. Unis/Schools could start making use of RSS feed technology and aggregate from outside to inside, for assessment purposes. Standardisation that’s given top-priority is what we actually need to question, I think.

%d bloggers like this: