The purposes of ePortfolios are many and varied. They work very nicely as compelling digital resumes. They are also effective marketing tools that can attract prospective employers for commenting and feedback. For each ePortfolio purpose, the design should be distinct and unique. In this article, we’ll talk about training ePortfolios, their purposes and their benefits to the eLearner.
What is an ePortfolio
As demand for eLearning programs in corporations grows, so does the need to manage the achieved knowledge. Trainees and experts both need a system to update their current and future learning needs. This does not imply that creating a running total of the courses taken successfully is enough. It does not mean that learners need to have a list of all courses they have been enrolled in.
A training ePortfolio is much more than a list or a number. It is a detailed description of learning that has taken place. It is a reflection on practice and a reflective practice in itself. It is a recollection of experience and performance. It defines the strengths and weakness of the employee.
It is also a great tool to consult with the learning experts of an organization, who can coach the employee towards a desirable learning pathway. And these aren’t the only benefits to them.
The benefits of ePortfolios
When trainees are requested to create their own ePortfolios, they gain a broader sense of what they have learned and towards which goals it can help. They can see their learning achievements. Attwell (2005) has put together seven benefits of ePortfolios for eLearners:
- Recognizing learning
- Recording learning
- Reflecting on learning
- Validating learning
- Planning new learning
- Assessing learning
How to motivate employees to create ePortfolios
The question arises, how do organizations convince employees to maintain a training ePortfolio? As with any policy-building procedure, the organization needs to look at the established research in the eLearning field. The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK supports the research for higher education and post-16-level training and education needs.
According to JISC, an ePortfolio is a concept that views the process and product as a purposeful collection by the learner of digital artifacts (such as ideas, reflections, feedback, etc) articulating aspects of learning.
The JISC considers ePortfolios to be characterized by an engagement in planning, synthesizing, sharing, discussing, reflecting, giving and receiving feedback. How can employers motivate their people to create this culture of creating, sharing and maintaining ePortfolios?
One suggested strategy is to inform and disseminate the proven benefits of training ePortfolios. As with every behavior that needs a change in an organization, the need for change and its positive effects on performance and organizational growth must be shared with all stakeholders.
A change that is long-lasting usually begins with the top management. Once employees see that their superiors create training ePortfolios and share with them through learning management systems, they can be convinced to take the steps as well.
The JISC had created the following 6 benefits and requirements of ePortfolios. Share and implement these with your employees and you are guaranteed a positive response.
An ePortfolio Checklist
1. Define the need for ePortfolios within your organization. What is their purpose? What issues are you aiming to address?
2. Understand the learning outcomes that are needed. ePortfolios offer real potential to create independent learning opportunities. How will these opportunities impact the employees and their technical needs? What about the support staff needed?
3. Prepare your employees to use the ePortfolio development tools, it is essential to get them involved. Train them in the copyright policies and other potential legal issues.
4. Engage the employees with the aid of experienced personnel within the organization.
5. Implement these strategies with the aid of the correct leadership from the top management. Hook ePortfolio goals with organizational KPIs. Reflect on the lessons learned. Create exemplary ePortfolio champions that inspire everyone.
6. Review the range of viewpoints of both trainees and support staff. Determine how you will assess and evaluate ePortfolios. And more importantly, their effect on employee performance.
One of the primary goals of any eLearning tool is to assess performance. Without regular assessment, ePortfolios will fail to provide their potential benefits to the organization. Create tools to determine validity, reliability, fairness and flexibility.
Moreover, create a social learning environment. Don’t just limit the learning to the digital medium. Talk about the latest eLearning courses, who has taken them and the impact it has made. Discuss the need for developing more courses in collaboration with employees. Encourage them to measure their professional development, performance, and future requirements.
An organization that is in the constant state of learning creates innovative these kinds of practices but reaps rewards that far exceed the effort expended.