The evaluation grid below is based on a comparison between 2 ePortfolio systems I have selected on the EduTools website where further systems can be examined. The user I had in mind while working through the provided result (which has been heavily edited and reduced for my purposes) is a student with a work history who is about completing a first degree which s/he hopes will lead to a career change.
The user believes an ePortfolio accessible to prospective employers will provide an advantage in the current competitive market. S/he also thinks an ePortfolio that is sustainable and flexible may come in handy at a later stage when artefacts will be added in order to highlight CPD (Continued Professional Development). As s/he is playing with the thought to work for some time in sunny Spain s/he also looks for options that take into account different national requirements.
You find the complete PPT below and for download on Slideshare.
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
Professional Development Planning (PDP) is driven by a range of different reasons which are related to wider pedagogical, technical, and corporate discourses. The Lifelong Learning Agenda has become increasingly dominant and shaped the supportive use of ePortfolios which can provide evidence for skills and achievements. The electronic transfer of such data and increasingly mobile students and employees in a gloablised world are among the push factors recognised in nation’s driving forces at the stage when they started setting up their PDP frameworks. My summary of key drivers for the UK, the USA and Europe is also available for download on Slideshare.
These reflections relate to some work in the post-graduate eLearning professional course we started doing on the course wiki. We have been trying to collate the various policy drivers which push the debate in the UK, US and Europe as well as other countries towards the adoption of ePortfolio systems. The work has been marked by some restrictions imposed by the Moodle set-up which currently does not allow students to start new subjects in the forums and which meant to jump straight into wiki authoring without first debating with peers. This is based on the rather rigid sticking to the timetable – which may change in due course and the Moodle upgrade next week, as announced today.
So basically, it was pretty straightforward, gathering the data, doing a bit of research on the current state of affairs. I got stuck at some point when I reflected on my role (imagined or real) in relation to the Framework for Personal Professional Development.
We were asked to consider the completed template as
- (i) evidence of our department in the technology competency area (because it is about ePortfolios)
- (ii) whether it could also be evidence of our proactivity (because you have created it collaboratively)? and
- (iii) which areas of the framework we would personally consider the most relevant.
Clearly, different weight is given to the varying aspects in different situations. Imagine an unemployed person who is studying the course, someone who is a researcher – or someone who is retired and just studying out of interest. Why ‘the department’ was mentioned is equally unclear – but it made me think about the imagined audiences the course authors must have had in mind – and how I apply the terms ‘eLearning’ and ‘professional’ to myself: I rather de-contextualise them and see them less tightly and exclusively linked to the field of education and educators.
The framework does seem to offer a fairly holistic range of significant aspects – but the column proactivity raises questions. Just because you engage in a collaborative task after being prompted to do so, it does not provide evidence for your proactivity. At least not in the age of web 2.0. So going further, I start questioning the framework – what sort of people had the developers/architects in mind when they designed it?
Clearly not those who shape the practices and policies that set the standards for technologies, research and communication. Let’s say, I am a researcher who is interested in informal learning and how engaging in affinity spaces (c.f. Henry Jenkins for instance) contributes to some of the skills and competencies mentioned in the framework. Would I be able to make use of pieces of work not generated within the context of the course? Would these pieces be validated by this particular framework? Subsequently, would I review my decision to argue that technology-related competencies are the most relevant ones in favour of communication-related skills or would I perhaps argue that a combination of skills depending on the audience/recipient is most important – at a certain point in time, in a certain cultural context. Now, this would mean to face relativism as a dilemma – but on the other hand, not questioning the framework itself would mean to comply with an absolutist approach in this case.
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