Student Centered Learning and Learning e-Portfolios
In higher education, student-centered instructional strategies are challenging the traditional lecture model. Instead of the “sage on the stage” delivering information (one-way model), institutions are promoting learning models where students collaboratively solve problems and reflect on their experiences (two-way/exchange model).
This new approach acknowledges the significance of learning that happens in communities, on the job, from personal knowledge networks, and throughout one’s lifetime. As a learning tool, a Learning ePortfolio can provide actual evidence of achievement, permitting the learner to display competence through the inclusion of multiple media types and artifacts.
Learning ePortfolios can facilitate student reflection on their own learning, leading to more awareness of learning strategies and needs. Also, Learning ePortfolios address several issues: synthesizing the students’ academic experiences, strengthening curricular coherence, and providing a potential venue for the growing prominence of extra-curricular experiences.
Additionally, because of the impact of technology in society, many learners entering college are technologically proficient and familiar with the online world where sharing photos and experiences in social forums are standard expressions of their knowledge and interests. Students are likely to be quite comfortable with Learning ePortfolios. For those students not used to this technology, developing technological proficiency in creating content online will satisfy another important learning goal.
What is an E-Portfolio?
"What is a Learning ePortfolio” is a 2 minute, video introduction about student-curated learning e-portfolios.
1. Two relevant articles from Peer Review, AAC&U, Winter 2009:
Encourages students to link artifacts to learning outcomes.
Allows faculty to better sequence and scaffold learning outcomes at different developmental stages.
Supports transferability of common learning outcomes by linking artifacts to other courses.
Can use Learning Portfolio assessment to improve teaching strategies.
Provides a vehicle for more authentic assessment over time as creates an assessment-trail that is centralized and under learner control.
Means to share content with other faculty.
Prepare student learners for life-long learning.
Paolo Freire argued that when one does not reflect on what one is doing or on information being received, one becomes passive and easily led:
"As learners, we are constantly constructing, revising, and reconstructing our knowledge and beliefs to create a new framework of understanding. Reflection is the engine that drives this process. Through reflection, students build upon and develop existing understandings to generate new knowledge."
Reflective thinking develops higher‐order thinking skills such as the ability to apply new knowledge to problem solve, adapt, and grow. In addition, reflection helps you to frame your education and thinking in a strategic way. Reflection is not only done in written form but can be done in other multimedia platforms from podcasting to music to videos.
"Reflection … challenges students to use critical thinking to examine presented information, question its validity, and draw conclusions based on the resulting ideas."
(Intime: Integrating New Technologies Into the Methods of Education)
Reflection is a critical part of learning how to learn. Reflecting onhowyou learn is just the first stage; taking action to develop yourself, to make changes and improve your learning is, like learning itself, an ongoing process.
Creation of Learning ePortfolios (LeP) occurs at Orientation in August.
Students collect artifacts as evidence of their learning. These artifacts encompass:
Lived Experiences: which include work, life, activities, co-curriculars, lectures and/or gallery visits
Process: this is research, drafts and/or sketches
Learning: for example reading, writing, designing and/or collaborating.
Students select artifacts from the various assignments given in their courses. In certain circumstances, specific direction is given by instructors. The material selected should be Signature Assignments - work that best represents the student's work in a course and fulfill the learning outcomes as stated in the syllabus.
Reflection is the most critical. Students reflect on the artifacts (assignments). Instructors will provide direction in class.
Students are better able to determine their own growth and learning when they take a moment to pause and think about what they have learned in a given course. Consequently, students stand better prepared to apply that knowledge in future courses as well as in their studio practice.
Benefits to Students:
Assists learners in making connections among learning experiences (formal and informal learning, academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular learning).
Promotes the development of reflective learning. This type of learning is developmental, self-directive, and lifelong.
Provides a history of development and growth to assist in planning future learning needs based on previous successes and failures.
Addresses Information Literacy through protocols for obtaining permissions and documenting Internet sources.
Helps students gain knowledge about how they represent themselves on the web through thoughtful collection and presentation of information that conveys a web-savvy, deliberately constructed virtual identity.
Personal control of learning history (as compared to organizations controlling learner history) and manage various levels of access to their portfolios.
Expand students’ understanding of visual rhetoric.
Benefits to the College Community:
Provides a system to demonstrate college-wide learning outcomes.
Encourages collaboration among departments to articulate common learning outcomes and shared assessment goals.
Provides a way to synthesize the students’ academic experiences, strengthen curricular coherence, and provide a potential venue for the growing prominence of extra-curricular experiences.
Demonstrates applications and critical literacies for course or programmatic assessment.
Contributes to idea of education as lifelong learning - students are able to adapt their Learning Portfolios to various purposes and uses beyond their academic careers (with the potential of ongoing alumni relationships and longitudinal tracking).