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March 19, 2008

The 5 Ps of e-portfolios

I'm not sure whether this is helpful, and I'm possibly guilty of simply making up words for the sake of it, but having listened to Graham Attwell's excellent podcast on e-portfolio development yesterday I woke up this morning with 5 P-words in my head that try to capture what learners can do with their e-portfolio.  In no particular order:

plan
Graham refers to "personal development planning portfolios" in his podcast and it seems to me that this is one of the most important aspects of what an e-portfolio can enable.  Being able to assess where one is in a learning journey and, more importantly, being able to plan for what needs to come next is a critical learning skill and an e-portfolio is one of the tools that supports that process.
ponder
Such planning comes in part from being able to reflect on the learning that has already taken place.  I must admit that this P-word is probably the most contrived out of the five but it is no less important for that.  This reflective activity appears to fall within what Graham refers to as a "personal learning portfolio".
promote
There is a sense in which an e-portfolio becomes a self-promotion tool, functioning more or less like a curriculum vitae would do, either as part of getting a job, or during transition between different phases of education.  (Note: the P-word present, as in Graham's "presentation portfolio" would be an alternative here but for some reason I think that promote works better).
prove
Being able to prove that learning has taken place is an important function of the e-portfolio, either as evidence to support the assessment process (c.f. Graham's "assessment portfolio") or as part of the promote function (c.f. Graham's "presentation portfolio").
preserve
Finally, there is a life-long aspect to e-portfolios which, while it may not fall under a traditional interpretation of "digital preservation", it seems to me is a long enough period to give us significant headaches about how we manage digital material for that length of time, especially given that we are talking about personally managed information by and large.  An e-portfolio, and the systems around it, should help us to maintain a life-log record of our learning and, as I say, that is a non-trivial functional requirement to meet currently.

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