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What is an e-portfolio?

An electronic portfolio, also known as an eportfolio, online portfolio or digital portfolio, is a collection of electronic evidence that has been created, collected and managed by a user, usually using an e-portfolio tool on the internet.

Evidence may include inputted text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. An e-portfolio can be both a demonstration of the user's abilities and a platform for self-expression, and being online, it can be maintained dynamically over time.

There are generally three types of eportfolio, although they may be referred to using different terms:

  • developmental - a record of things that the owner has done over a period of time, and may be directly tied to learner outcomes
  • reflective - a personal reflection on the content and what it means for the owner's development
  • representational - the owner's achievements in relation to particular work or developmental goal, usually as a showcase.

A major use of eportfolios is for the assessment of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ). Candidates build portfolios using evidence to prove learning outcomes which can be accessed by nominated assessors and verifiers over the internet. The eportfolio does not make the gaining of the qualification easier, but it does make the whole process much more cost-effective.

Eportfolios, like traditional portfolios, can facilitate students' reflection on their own learning, leading to more awareness of learning strategies and needs. Results of research between paper based portfolios and electronic portfolios, suggest use of an electronic portfolio leads to better learning outcomes.

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