Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning: A Case Study in Improving Academic Self-Regulation through Innovative Use of Educational Technologies

Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning: A Case Study in Improving Academic Self-Regulation through Innovative Use of Educational Technologies

Vivek Venkatesh (Concordia University, Canada), Eva Bures (Concordia University, Canada), Ann-Louise Davidson (Concordia University, Canada), C. Anne Wade (Concordia University, Canada), Larysa Lysenko (Concordia University, Canada) and Philip C. Abrami (Concordia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3676-7.ch019


At the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) in Montréal, the authors have developed, tested, and disseminated to schools in the Canadian provinces of Québec and Alberta, without charge, an Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning (ePEARL). ePEARL is designed to be faithful to predominant models of self-regulated learning (SRL; e.g., Zimmerman, 2008; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011), scaffolding and supporting learners and their educators from grade one through grade twelve and beyond. In a series of empirical studies, the authors have explored the impact of ePEARL on the development of students’ SRL skills and their literacy skills, also researching classroom implementation fidelity and teacher professional development. The case study presented herein briefly explains the development of ePEARL, the authors’ research program, and issues in the scalability and sustainability of knowledge tools in secondary schools. Using triangulated data sources from teachers and learners, this case study presents three vignettes and discusses the design and implementation of ePEARL in scholastic settings across the Canadian provinces of Québec and Alberta. The discussion case provides in-depth analysis of learners’ portfolios in ePEARL, as well as teacher perceptions related to integration of electronic portfolios in classrooms.
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Setting The Stage

At the heart of the LTK is ePEARL – an Electronic Portfolio that Encourages Active Reflective Learning. Traditionally electronic portfolios have had three broad purposes: process, showcase, and assessment. Our emphasis has been on how process portfolios can be used to support learning through embedded structures and strategies. A process electronic portfolio can be defined as a purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of a student’s effort, progress and/or achievement in a variety of subject areas. Process portfolios are personal learning management tools meant to encourage academic improvement, personal growth and development, and a commitment to life-long learning.

The design of ePEARL was based on a cyclical, socio-cognitive model developed by Barry J. Zimmerman. This model revolves around a triadic definition of self-regulation, which involves the interaction of personal, behavioral and environmental processes that together provide a foundation for life-long learning and skill development that is driven and sustained by the learner. Academic self-regulated learning (SRL) involves the strategic application and adaptation of learners’ cognitive and metacognitive thought processes in influencing their own behaviors while tackling academic tasks, taking into account their emotions as well as motivational states within a specific learning context or environment (Pintrich, 2000; Zimmerman, 2000, 2008; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011). This implies, behavioral skill-management and subject knowledge as well as metacognitive awareness, social influences and motivational beliefs about personal agency. Zimmerman structures the SRL process in three phases: Forethought, Performance, and Self-Reflection. The forethought phase includes task analysis in the form of goal setting and strategic planning, and self-motivation beliefs in the form of self-efficacy, outcome expectations, intrinsic interest and goal orientation. The performance phase is divided into self-control, which includes self-instruction, imagery, attention focusing and task strategies, and self-observation, which includes self-recording and self-experimentation. The third phase is self-reflection. It includes self-judgment, comprised of self-evaluation and causal attribution, as well as self-reaction, which involves self-satisfaction and adaptive/defensive responses (Figure 1). The process is described as cyclical because successful SRL depends on the constant revision of goals, and monitoring and correction of performance based on feedback about recent efforts.

Figure 1.

Phases and subprocesses in self-regulation (Zimmerman, 2000)

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