Properly prepared and well-managed e-portfolios can be indispensable tools in higher education. For students and faculty alike, digital portfolios offer a variety of benefits. What is surprising about e-portfolio solutions is the fact that many schools, colleges, and universities don’t already exploit the full potential of these platforms.
Recent research (Pospíšilová & Rohlíková, 2023) shows that e-portfolio “has the potential to serve as a tool for 21st-century skills development, namely self-reflection, self-assessment, goal-setting, evidence-based learning, as well as a tool for digital literacy development.” Another longitudinal study (Slade & Downer, 2019), where university students are asked to describe their understanding and attitudes towards e-portfolios, indicated: “Positive feelings and enthusiasm were shown to increase when students are required to develop their ePortfolio personally and demonstrate to employers their previous and current achievements.” Students with access to digital portfolio technology can assess their strengths and weaknesses, strive for continuous improvement, and manage their performance. For faculty, e-portfolios provide the essential data and insights needed to plan and action improvements to their curriculums, teaching standards, and approach to education in general.
E-portfolios can be rich and indispensable sources of information for educators and students, which going forward should become a standard feature at all proactive schools and colleges.
What Is an E-Portfolio?
As the name suggests, an e-portfolio is simply a digital portfolio used to store and showcase students’ achievements throughout their education. It’s an innovative, dynamic, and surprisingly simple alternative to a conventional portfolio, which over time amasses various forms of ‘evidence’ regarding a student’s capabilities and accomplishments.
Some of the components of a typical e-portfolio are as follows:
- Digital copies of assignments, dissertations, and essays
- Programs of study and evidence of courses taken
- Photographs, video clips, sound bites, and other media
- Evidence of performing arts, creativity, and innovation
- Recommendations, references, and endorsements
- Verification of extracurricular activities
- Copies of examination papers and results
The flexibility of a good e-portfolio system is such that it can be used for practically any purpose as deemed beneficial by the institution in question. There are different types of e-portfolios – professional e-portfolios, learning e-portfolios, specialist faculty e-portfolios, and so on – with their unique functions and benefits.
However, all e-portfolio solutions have the same basic objective in mind – to enhance the educational experience of students and help them build stronger, more successful educational and career paths.
How Students Benefit From an E-Portfolio
A 2017 study conducted by Gail L. Ring (from Pebble Pad) and Chelsea Waugaman and Bob Brackett (from Clemson University) in the United States found that the vast majority of employers support the use of electronic portfolios. When polled, more than 80% stated that they would find e-portfolios useful as part of the recruitment process, enabling them to quickly and effectively screen candidates and hire the right people for the right roles.
Studies show that e-portfolio solutions can benefit students, especially when learning a new language (Cheng, 2022). Also, e-portfolio users obtained higher exam scores than non-users (Händel, 2018). E-portfolio technology could also prove highly beneficial for students and graduates looking to market themselves and their skills to potential employers. Experts highlighted how a digital portfolio can be used to present a much stronger and more appealing case than any conventional portfolio of work.
Advantages of these Solutions
To date, all published studies support the adoption and the potential benefits of e-portfolios. They have pointed to the same advantages for the students using them:
- Many graduate school programs now require a portfolio of work as a fundamental prerequisite – some of these schools now only accept applications from students with digital portfolios.
- Students using e-portfolios can reflect on their accomplishments, their strengths, and their weaknesses to strive for continuous improvement throughout their education.
- An e-portfolio provides the student with the ability to perform regular assessments of their abilities and build a more accurate picture of where they would like to see themselves longer-term.
- Digital portfolios are exponentially easier to create and manage than traditional portfolios, with no limitations whatsoever regarding the capacity or complexity of content.
- Educators and faculty members authorized to do so can access and analyze the digital portfolios of their students to help create action plans that leverage their strengths and address their weaknesses.
Market Penetration of the Product Group
Adopting e-portfolio platforms in higher education is accelerating, but still a fair way to go. As shown in the figure above, larger institutions have adopted these solutions more often. When building this graph, we created four equal groups of roughly 1,350 institutions to compare them better. In smaller colleges and universities, traditional portfolios continue to serve a purpose in the meantime, possibly due to contract pricing. When we compare traditional portfolios to digital ones, the former cannot compete with the convenience, flexibility, and all-around benefits of the latter.
Some Solutions in Our Database
- Accredible Platform
- Apereo Equella
- Avenet MyeFolio
- Anthology Portfolio
- Desire2Learn ePortfolio
- Digication e-Portfolio
- DuraSpace Dspace
- ElearningForce International SharePoint E-Portfolio
- Epsilen Enterprise ePortfolio
- Instructure Canvas ePortfolio
- OneFile Eportfolio
- Pebble Learning PebblePad
- Taskstream ePortfolio
- Watermark Taskstream ePortfolio