Why do we need an ePortfolio?
In the context of a knowledge society, where being information literate is critical, the ePortfolio can provide an opportunity to support one's ability to collect, organise, interpret and reflect on his/her learning and practice. It is also a tool for continuing professional development, encouraging individuals to take responsibility for and demonstrate the results of their own learning. Furthermore, a portfolio can serve as a tool for knowledge management, and is used as such by some institutions. The ePortfolio provides a link between individual and organisational learning.
Recognising individual achievements
In the view of a US "e-portfolio consortium": "the student portfolio is quickly becoming recognised as an important means of documenting and evaluating achievements and improvements in student learning. Technology has magnified this role to enable departmental, programmatic, and campus-wide assessment of student learning to occur. Concurrently, use of electronic portfolios in documenting proficiencies is becoming increasingly common in applications for graduate school and for certain kinds of professional employment."
Improving the quality of learning provision
We believe that use of the digital portfolio represents an opportunity to improve the quality of education, providing teachers and staff with valuable information to design individualised challenging learning experiences. Yet portfolios are not only tools for students, but can be used by teachers, trainers, and all professionals. For example, at the University of Oulu, Finland, teacher portfolios are being used systematically in order to develop teachers’ own professional expertise and recognise achievement. Teachers are encouraged to collect all teaching documents that have they have accumulated over the years. The material is kept in a private teacher portfolio, which can be used to construct an official portfolio, containing central aspects and reflections on their work as a teacher.
The fact that the digital portfolio is online is certainly interesting from a quality assurance point of view (access to evidence, sampling), but it is even more interesting for its contribution to the learning process: the living evidence of the learner's ability to manage his/her own learning and to reflect on it.