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Published on the 01.15.2018

ePortfolio, an impactful symbol for the future of education

Education is one of the core values of European Union. We often forget but the Bologna Process, launched in 1998, aims at unifying european universities systems.

Next step? Apparently it is 2020. Indeed, among several key objectives, there’s education. More precisely, there’s one stressed theme that caught our attention. ePortfolio.

You probably already know what it is, it’s not new at all. In fact, ePortfolio is a recurrent term that can be found since 2013 and even before. We studied it because it was interesting. Our conclusion is that today more than ever, ePortfolio reaches its momentum.

A brief definition.

According to the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, it is an “evolving tool regrouping digital documents and resources concentrated in one platform that shows acquired skills, experience, academic background and professional career of its user through several type of information”

Simply put, it is a platform that lets its user, student or not, to become manager of his skills acquisition process, of his education and to decide how to show them.

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All in all, an ePortfolio is supposed to ease the management, acquisition and validation of skills of a student or any type of user.

According to Canvas, lePortfolio can be used to :
  • Create an online educational journal for reflection
  • Create an online site that can be turned in as an online Assignment
  • Demonstrate mastery of course Outcomes
  • Share your best work from multiple courses
  • Showcase professional-quality work for prospective employers
According to the British Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), ePortfolios are to be characterized by an engagement in planning, synthesizing, sharing, discussing, reflecting, giving and receiving feedback. Interesting definition.

ePortfolio, also called a passport for skills, is planned to be implemented to higher education. Before stating the several impacts and opportunities it represents, we should look at the symbol that it shapes for the future of education.

A symbol?

The passport for skills underlines a growing idea: skills aren’t found or certified only in schools. For example since 2015 and the Edtech “boom”, we saw learning tools such as MOOCs that rose under the spotlights as a complement, not yet an alternative, to traditional education.

ePortfolio are tools to value more people’s eLearning experiences and give these more importance in people’s academic backgrounds. Pragmatic learning also is viewed as crucial and ePortfolios tend to encourage showing it off.

Opportunities for students

A passport for skills gathers several perspectives in one tool like :

  • an academic profile
  • a professional profile
  • an evaluation profile
  • a communication interface
  • a blogging interface (media, text etc.)
These propose some opportunities like:

Learn better, thanks to an academic follow up tool (grades, commentaries and personal follow up done by professors) and an integrated skill acquisition dashboard. Thus the student, or learner, can better understand his needs and better prioritize his works. Moreover, an ePortfolio lets its users take tests, assessments and exams on its platform for more comfort.

Better communicate its skills, thanks to a blogging interface and CV constitution.

Help users manage their ambitions (personnel et professional), by letting them validate skills from different sources (online, offline) and show these on their personal showcase.

In conclusion, this show-your-skills platform aims at giving users full control on their academic progression and their skill acquisition processes.

An all-in solution?

ePortfolios looks clearly like an all-in solution, composed of multiple facets, which doesn’t help new companies trying to propose ePortfolios solutions to constitute their MVPs.

But is it? Lesley Bartlett, assistant director at Auburn University affirms that "While e-portfolio initiatives often serve multiple purposes, it's important to know which purpose is the priority. Your top priority should guide your platform selection process."

Answer is no. ePortfolio can be the whole kit or just who side of it, whether it is focused on the professional, academic, grading or blogging aspect.

Obviously it is important, before making a passport for skill, to try what’s existing on the market. Think about LinkedIn (pour l’aspect pro), Medium, TestWe for grading and analytics ;)…

ePortfolio still is a symbol of a shift in way we think education today. And 2018, with all its technological advances will definitely be the year of education… in every way and at all age (while in 2015’s boom, the focus was on K12 education).

Indeed, ePortfolio can also be the best type of platform to engage employees and cultivate learning, sharing and participation in a company... But we’ll take a look at it next time.

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