How are learning portfolios used?
Learning Portfolios for Students
Portfolios can be a powerful catalyst for integrative learning and holistic development as well as a tool for self-branding and professional development. Portfolios can:
- Encourage engagement in active reflection and meaning-making
- Foster reflection on the principles central to an academic discipline and the university as a whole
- Facilitate the integration of topics and themes across disciplines and over time
- Provide a forum to synthesize work and share that work with others
- Contribute to holistic development in multiple ways, including: personal development, academic development, and career development
- Provide a resource for demonstrating skills, abilities, and experiences in the job-search process
Learning Portfolios for Faculty/Staff
Portfolios can foster and provide evidence of student learning across all curricular, co-curricular, and institution-wide outcomes. ePortfolios enhance learning and provide opportunities for assessment of learning in the following ways:
- Represent multiple learning styles, modes of accomplishment, and quality of work accomplished by students
- Provide structure around clear expectations and articulated goals
- Offer the potential for progressive formative assessments that foster improvement while learning is still in process
- Encourage reflection on learning as well as personal goal-setting and future planning
- Facilitate program and institutional review through sampling and aggregation of data from individual student portfolios [Adapted from www.aacu.org/value]
Learning Portfolios for Assessment
Portfolios can be a powerful tool for assessment and evaluation. By establishing a set of criteria and evidence each student is required to submit, a department can measure what concepts students have mastered and where they are falling short of departmental standards. ePortfolios can be used as formative assessment (throughout a student’s course of study) and a summative evaluation (at the end of the standard degree program).
Portfolio assessment has additional advantages over other modes of evaluation in that students often have the opportunity to select what they feel is their best representative work. With the ability to include multiple formats, including multimedia, ePortfolios address multiple learning styles and provide a medium in which students can get instructive feedback that informs them of their strengths and deficits; this feedback can be based on an established measure, called a rubric, that provides specific information on a student’s performance. One frequent ePortfolio assignment involves having students reflect on their learning, on their co-curricular activities and other events that impact their experience in their discipline, the university community, and the world.