Learning Portfolio Elements

Once students have identified the purpose of their portfolio, the type of learning portfolio, and their audience, they can start to think about what to include.

The components of a learning portfolio are the learning artifacts, critical reflections to "curate" artifacts, and web-based platform used to build the portfolio.

Critical Reflection

Another important aspect of a learning portfolio is critical reflection. For each learning artifact selected it is important students "curate" those items by reflecting on their experiences. Critical reflection goes beyond explaining what the experiences were to talking about why the experience was important, making connections between experiences, and articulating new learning students took away from the experience.


Loyola University Chicago has contracted with Digication to be the university's official learning portfolio vendor. Two of Digication's primary functionalities Loyola uses include:

1) Building electronic learning portfolios through Digication.

2) Assessing student learning outcomes and keeping an online record of student learning artifacts.

Faculty and students can contact the Learning Portfolio Program Manager to determine the best fit for your course or outcome. 


Learning Artifacts

Learning artifacts are documents or media files that are student evidence of learning and growth over time. Used thoughtfully, artifacts can demonstrate skills, abilities, experiences, or competency. 

Creativity and intentionally is important when students select artifacts as one of the advantages of building an electronic portfolio is the ability to use different forms of multimedia to demonstrate learning.

Learning portfolio artifacts can include:

  • Photos or Slideshows
  • Blogs or Vlogs 
  • Writing Samples (research papers, essays, fiction, reflections, journals)
  • Videos
  • Presentations 
  • Research Posters
  • Web Link


Types of Learning Portfolios

Loyola University Chicago supports four different types of Learning Portfolios. 

  • Course Portfolios

    • Purpose: Typically used in a single course for students to connect course concepts, relfect on their learning, receive peer and instructor feedback, and integrate academic and co-curricular experiences.
  • Integrative Portfolios

    • Purpose: Used winin an entire major, minor, or academic program for students to connect course content across multiple courses, create an interdisciplinary learning experience, integrate beyond-the-classroom experiences, and assess student learning.
  • Assessment Portfolios

    • Purpose: Used by instructors to evaluate student learning outcomes, competencies, or skills as defined by a program's standards and/or outcomes. Students upload artifacts that demonstrate attainment of the aforementioned areas.
  • Professional/Showcase Portfolios (in partnership with the Career Development Center)

    • Used for students, staff and faculty to share skills, competencies, or experiences with professional colleagues or prospective employers. Students use the portfolio to track professional growth and make meaning of professional experiences over time.


The various types of portfolios may also overlap in function. For instance, integrative portfolios can also be assessment portfolios.