As a last topic of this course we are going to explore e-portfolios and their role as an assessment tool for one’s acquired competencies. In recent years educators have started to talk about the paradigm shift i.e. from what shall be learned? to what should students be able to do?, which requires reorganisation of performance assessment and examination.
The term ‘competence’ is, however, often used in a somewhat inflationary, overly broad and very fuzzy manner, but in general ‘competence’ refers to a human potentiality for action in a range of challenging situations. I quite like the way Erpenbeck and Heyse (1999) have conceptualised this term: A competent person is an individual who has acquired factual knowledge and a set of procedural skills in a certain area, but in addition also holds orientations, values and attitudes for coping with open-ended and complex problem situations. A competence, referring to a human potentiality, cannot directly be observed. It has to be inferred from the observation (or self-observation) of a given performance. This performance needs to be somehow documented to make acquired competencies visible and assessable as well. If we, as learners, take control and responsibility for our learning experiences, become more self-directed individuals and design our learning environments according to our needs, then we can’t really talk about a formal knowledge testing anymore, but rather find ways to prove our growth and a set of additionally acquired dispositions. Sometimes it is called a competency-based learning.
While “portfolios…are always a goal driven, organized collection of items (artefacts) that demonstrate a learner’s expansion of knowledge and skills over time” (Walti, 2004, p. 157), in some cases we can also demonstrate our knowledge and skills in a digital format. Some educators interpret e-portfolios as a new dynamic CV, which consists of one’s life work and learning experiences.
IMS e-portfolio specification distinguishes 6 different types of e-portfolios, which all have a slightly different purpose:
- assessment portfolio
- presentation portfolio
- learning portfolio
- personal development portfolio
- multiple owner portfolio
- working portfolio
You can use basically any networked tools and services to create your e-portfolio, for instance a weblog with some static pages, links to your works, etc. but there are also some specific software solutions:
Open and free
- OSPI The Open Source Portfolio Initiative
15 efficient e-portfolio tools
Sometimes e-portfolio is also called as a personal learning environment, however, I am not very eager to follow this line of thought. I can still see an e-portfolio as a collection of my best works, proofs of my growth and development.
So, this week I propose to do the following…
…familiarise yourself with the literature related to this week’s concepts (e-portfolio, competencies). I have added a few potential articles to the ‘Material’ page, but as usual feel free to choose your own articles and books to study;
…imagine a situation: you have spent some time in Linz studying and now you have to go back to your home university. Your home university is interested in getting an overview of how you have grown, in what direction, what additional competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes, etc.; they can be subject-related or transferrable general skills) have you acquired while being in Linz. Your task is to prove that with your e-portfolio and you have two options here:
(a) If you have time and you are interested in trying out new tools you can create a mini e-portfolio using whatever tools you want to (special e-portfolio software, simple website, etc.).
(b) If playing yet another tool is too much right now, put out a Weblog post in your personal Weblog and describe your e-portfolio concept/prototype related to your studies in Linz.
…and of course you are very welcome to continue with the discussions in our forum.
Let’s try to get it done by June 9th.
Erpenbeck, J., & Heyse, V. (1999). Kompetenzbiographie – kompetenzmilieu -kompetenztransfer
(No. 62). Berlin: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Betriebliche Weiterbildungsforschung, e.V.
Walti, C. (2004). Implementing web-based portfolios and learning journals. In J. E. Brindley, C. Wälti, & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Learner support in open, online and distance learning environments (pp. 157-168). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg.