January 20, 2018

Reports and articles on e-portfolios for learning

This section of the web site is managed by:

Lourdes Guàrdia
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

E-mail: lguardia@uoc.edu


Callan, V. (2009) How organisations are using e-learning to support national training initiatives Canberra: Australian Flexible Learning Network

This project, funded by  the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, has investigated how organisations are using e-learning in innovative ways that support national initiatives by providing more responsive, flexible and effective approaches to training, particularly in the areas of skills shortage. It includes a brief discussion of the use of e-portfolios for vocational and technical training. Curyer et al (below) has a more detailed examination of e-portfolios in this area in Australia.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (2008). “Effective practice with e-portfolio. Supporting 21st century learning”.
This guide investigates current good practice in the use of e-portfolios as a support to learning and as an aid to progression to the next stage of education or to employment.

Hartnell-Young, E. et al. (2007) “Impact study of e-portfolios on learning”.
Becta commissioned researchers from the Learning Science Research Institute, University of Nottingham, UK, to investigate the impact that e-portfolios can have on learners in schools, further education, higher education and work-based learning. Case studies of eight e-portfolio projects were created from document analysis and interviews and surveys of learners and teachers. Findings relating to the impact of e-portfolio systems on learning outcomes and processes and commencing and sustaining e-portfolio development were drawn from cross case analysis.

Curyer, S & Leeson, J. & Mason, J. & Williams, A. (2007) Developing e-portfolios for VET: Policy issues and interoperability
The E-standards for Training project has released a report on e-portfolio systems in the vocational education and training system in Australia. This report specifically focuses on e-portfolios to support transitions between training, other forms of learning, and employment. The study shows the potential for e-portfolios to provide a systematic, electronic method for learners to record and control access to evidence of their learning.


Batson, T. (2010) The testing straightjacket Campus Technology, July 7

Trent Batson provides a critique of existing testing practices, with their emphasis on memorization, and suggests that e-porfolios provide a more authentic form of assessment.

Fusch, D. (2010) Integrating e-portfolios in your assessment strategy Academic Impressions, July 16

David Fusch interviews Tracey Penny Light, of the University of Waterloo, who offers several steps for integrating e-portfolios into an instructor’s assessment strategy.

Krämer, J. and Seeler, G. (2009) E-portfolios as tools to assess generic competences in distance learning study courses Elearningpapers, September

This paper by faculty from a German graduate business school. It discusses the need to evaluate students’ performance in online distance education courses. It focuses on the so-called “generic” or “key” competences, which are increasingly in demand as part of academic competence goals. This paper discusses the suitability of portfolios which at the same time integrate elements of self-reflection and feedback in fulfilling these requirements.

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), Vol. 4, No. 1 (2009) published a special edition focused on e-portfolios with Serge Ravet as the guest editor. The following three articles are from this special edition.

Himpsl, K. and Baumgartner, P. (2009) Evaluation of E-Portfolio Software International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 16-22

E-Portfolios are a new type of software and it is still relatively vague to determine which functions are obligatory – that is which functions constitute characteristic features – and which functions are just optional (“nice to have“). This article describes the concept and the preliminary results of a research project which was conducted to evaluate E-Portfolio software, and aims at providing decision guidance for implementing E-Portfolios in higher education – first and foremost from the pedagogical perspective. Which recommendations can be made to an institution which now wants to implement electronic portfolios with a certain objective? [Note: Only the abstract is available at http://online-journals.org/i-jet/article/view/831. For a pdf copy, you need to register here first. There is no subscription required.]

Bisovsky, G. and Schaffert, S. (2009) Learning and Teaching With E-Portfolios: Experiences in and Challenges for Adult Education International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 13-15

Based on short introduction into the e-portfolio method, this contribution focuses on experiences and challenges for adult education: For that, it describes best practice, current projects and initiatives in European adult and continuing education. Additionally, the results of interviews with experienced adult educators who have already worked with the e-portfolio method will be referred: The interviews focus on competencies that educators need, if they are working with the e-portfolio method. In a short outlook, requirements for a future professional development and training for e-portfolio trainers in adult education will be sketched.

Hilzensauer, W. and Buchberger, G. (2009) MOSEP – More Self-Esteem With My E-Portfolio: Development of a Train-the-Trainer Course for E-Portfolio Tutors International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning Vol.4. No. 1

E-portfolios are known as a technology- supported learning method for the documentation of competency development. In this article the didactic approach, the course design and the results of the Leonardo da Vinci project MOSEP (More self-esteem with my e-portfolio) are described. The main objective of the project was to develop, test and evaluate a new e-portfolio training concept for teachers and tutors in order to support learners during their competence development phase.

Cambridge, D.  et alt. (2008) “The Impact of the Open Source Portfolio on Learning and Assessment” MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 4, No. 4, December 2008

An article that surveys the current state of OSP development and use and shares results of research on its effectiveness.

Brandes, G. and Boskic, N. (2008) “Eportfolios: From description to analysis” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 9, No 2 (2008), ISSN: 1492-3831:
Another interesting article, from authors at the University of British Columbia. Here is the abstract from that article: ‘In recent years, different professional and academic settings have been increasingly utilizing e-Portfolios to serve multiple purposes from recruitment to evaluation. This paper analyzes e-Portfolios created by graduate students at a Canadian university. Demonstrated is how students’ constructions can, and should, be more than a simple compilation of artifacts. Examined is an online learning environment whereby we shared knowledge, supported one another in knowledge construction, developed collective expertise, and engaged in progressive discourse. In our analysis of the portfolios, we focused on reflection and deepening understanding of learning. We discussed students’ use of metaphors and hypertexts as means of making cognitive connections. We found that when students understood technological tools and how to use them to substantiate their thinking processes and to engage the readers/ viewers, their e-Portfolios were richer and more complex in their illustrations of learning. With more experience and further analysis of exemplars of existing portfolios, students became more nuanced in their organization of their e-Portfolios, reflecting the messages they conveyed. Metaphors and hypertexts became useful vehicles to move away from linearity and chronology to new organizational modes that better illustrated students’ cognitive processes. In such a community of inquiry, developed within an online learning space, the instructor and peers had an important role in enhancing reflection through scaffolding. We conclude the paper with a call to explore the interactions between viewer/reader and the materials presented in portfolios as part of learning occasions.’

Berlanga, A.; Sloep, P.; Brouns, F.; Bitter-Rijpkema, M.; Koper, R. (2008) Towards a TENCompetence ePortfolio. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) 3.
This article argues that the TENCompetence ePortfolio definition should integrate rhetorical, pedagogical, social, and technical perspectives. The rhetorical perspective is needed to show the learner’s competences, achievements and history; the pedagogical perspective aims at supporting learner’s self-reflection, through the definition of competences mastered, review and creation of (new) competence development plans, and assessment of competences; the social perspective aims at fostering interaction and social help support; and the technical perspective aims at supporting the other three perspectives. Guiding principles for the design of the TENCompetence ePortfolio are provided, and the aforementioned perspectives detailed.

Ring, G., Weaver, B. and Jones, J. (2008) Electronic Portfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts, Journal of the Research Centre for Educational Technology (Kent State) Vol. 4, No. 2

This is an interesting paper that shows the potential of the ePortfolio as a learning tool. The authors describe how to help students understand why they should create an ePortfolio, and how by scaffolding them through the process of how to create an ePortfolio it is possible to get a successful implementation.


This paper briefly summarizes the implementation of a university-wide electronic portfolio requirement. We begin with a systemic view of the ePortfolio Program and narrow our focus to a view of ePortfolio integration into two different classes. The rationale behind the Clemson University ePortfolio Program is to build a mechanism through which core competencies are demonstrated and evaluated. The target classes are a general education English class focusing on 20th and 21st century literature and a professional development seminar in computer science. Both classes allow students to select their topics and present their work to the class using a variety of media types, and both include a form of peer evaluation. These classes confirm that when students’ choice is built into the assignments we are pleasantly surprised by the outcomes. In addition, an extensive variety of artifacts are generated from each course that can be used to demonstrate the general education competencies, provide authentic evidence of learning, and generate a career portfolio. In our examples, we will describe the planning, implementation, and dissemination processes necessary to integrate the ePortfolio Program into university courses.

Ward, C. and Moser, C. (2008) E-Portfolios as a Hiring Tool: Do Employers Really Care?  EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4 (October–December 2008)

The article states: ‘E-portfolios demonstrate students’ learning and competency, yet higher education has not persuaded employers to use them in recruiting and selecting employees.’ This is a report on a survey of employers regarding the use of e-portfolios for hiring.

Pereira, A. et al. (2009) Evaluating continuous assessment quality in competence-based education online: the case of the e-folio EURODL, December 9

The paper, from researchers at the Open University of Portugal, proposes two main types of instruments to be used in undergraduate fully online courses: e-folios and p-folios. The e-folio “is a short digital document elaborated by the student and published online to be visualized by the teacher, and should clearly demonstrate that the student acquired or developed a given competence” The e-folios may be complemented by a p-folio that takes place in a face-to-face setting. The p-folio may take the form of “a set of questions defined by the teacher, or other forms, such as the presentation of a project or a report, according to the competences to be developed by the students.