Use of E-Portfolios in Health Professions Education

Use of E-Portfolios in Health Professions Education

Andrew G. Pearson, Brooke E. Harris-Reeves, Lana J. Mitchell, Jessica J. Vanderlelie
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3850-9.ch011
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In light of the changing landscape of workforce demand, digital technologies are becoming increasingly important to support students with their studies and professional preparation. As such, tertiary institutions are embedding curriculum approaches focused on the development of employability skills and drawing upon technology in order to prepare students for the real world of work in a manner that is scalable and transferable. Digital technologies such as ePortfolios have become an increasingly utilized platform for reflection, evidencing professional competencies and professional branding. Within this chapter, the authors discuss the benefits and limitations of these platforms from the perspectives of students, staff, professional, and institutional contexts. Case studies are utilzsed to demonstrate ePortfolios in practice across the allied health disciplines and key research questions and solutions for the future are discussed.
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A Short History of the Portfolio and ePortfolio

Portfolios have been utilized for career purposes since the early 1800s to showcase achievements in music, fine arts, photography, architecture, and graphic design (Blom & Hitchcock, 2017). Portfolios remain a widely used tool for evidencing professional competencies where selected items of work are compiled to demonstrate the achievements and abilities of the owner.

The use of ePortfolios in education evolved out of print-based student portfolios with significant writing components. Due to the challenges of handling media in the infancy of the internet, ePortfolios emerged as written works in disciplines such as English studies (Connolly, Gould, Hainey, Waugh & Boyle, 2010). Portfolios and ePortfolios have both been used for the owner to analyse and reflect on their work – students collect their work, select examples to showcase, and reflect on what they learned (Yancey, 2001).

With improvements technology, the content in ePortfolios developed to more closely resemble a modern version of an artist’s portfolio (Meyer, Abrami, Wade, Aslan & Deault, 2010), containing electronic artefacts such as text, audio, images, video, multimedia, certificates, and digital badges. In addition to the enhanced content options, ePortfolios offer advantages over print portfolios, including the ability to reach vast numbers of people (Rowley, 2008), and the ability to showcase digital tools that are commonly used in the conceptual and creative process (Cleveland & Cleveland, 2004).

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