Getting started with e-portfolios

21 July 2015, website JISC. Many educators see e-portfolios as vital to learning, teaching and assessment. Our quick guide takes you through the basics.

What are e-portfolios?

They are digital presentations of a student’s experiences, achievements and aspirations for a particular audience – the digital equivalent of a paper portfolio – but the term often refers also to the underlying tools and systems.

However, it is the learning that really matters. Creating an e-portfolio involves skills essential for 21st century learning – organising and planning material, giving and receiving feedback, reflecting, selecting and arranging content to communicate with a particular audience in the most effective way.

It is these rich and complex processes that are of most interest and value to educators.

What are they used for?

Different sectors, disciplines and professional bodies have their own approaches, but our research shows that e-portfolios are valuable at all stages in the learning lifecycle.

A well-managed approach to e-portfolios offers students, staff and employers ways of:

  • Evidencing employability skills and graduate attributes
  • Assessing learning in a more authentic way
  • Making sense of learning and achievements across disparate parts of the curriculum
  • Engaging with personal and continuing professional development
  • Making coherent links between different stages of learning
  • Achieving deeper learning through reflection and dialogue
  • Developing lifelong learning skills.

Case studies

Watch our videos to see how organisations have transformed learning with e-portfolios.

Looking for more guidance?

Find inspiration and discover tips and strategies for implementing e-portfolios from our resources:

For details of all our previous work, including what we learned, how e-portfolios add value to learning, and e-portfolio portability, see our archived project page

Further resources

The e-portfolios for starters video explains how e-portfolios work for staff. Southampton Solent University has a similar production aimed specifically at students.

Our learner voice video, Jenny and Emma, provides the student perspective on e-portfolios.

For details of all our previous work, including what we learned, how e-portfolios add value to learning, and e-portfolio portability, see our archived project page.

Other useful links

Our guide, develop your students’ employability skills through technology contains links to initiatives, reports and case studies of relevance to e-portfolios and employability.

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