Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The future of the e-portfolio?

Sarah Stewart has been writing about her experiences of using an e-portfolio for her Midwifery Standards Review and this has got me thinking about how Social Workers in Australia can use an e-portfolio to collate and organise their professional development activities to demonstrate the requirements for accrediation.    But are Social Workers in Australia ready to hear about e-portfolios?

I think Social Workers (and other health professionals) are happy to use the paper versions of a portfolio or record of training and development activities because they think they don’t have any other real choice. And I wonder if they are really happy with the paper version, or do they sometimes wonder if there must be a better way to do this?

We are all looking for something simple, easy to learn how to use, easy to maintain and easy to send off to our professional association when the time comes for review of our registration or accreditation. I see the enormous potential of the e-portfolio for professionals who need to keep a record of learning and development activities for their annual or bi-annual registration or accreditation review. In particular, I would like to see the Australian Association of Social Workers host e-portfolios - and I am preparing a paper to make this suggestion more formally.

E-portfolios are not something new that has been designed to make our life more difficult. The Australian ePortfolio Project released their stage 2  report in December 2009 and it makes interesting reading.  There is a lot money being invested in Australia to develop e-portfolios.  It’s not something that is going to fade away overnight. E-portfolios are a way to keep track of our activities and reflections – our learning and development and e-portfolios have enormous potential to do even more for us, things we haven’t thought of yet. So I say let’s get involved now, and influence the design so it works for us. And when the new students come along, we can dazzle them with our insight and fresh ideas.

I’m interested in what other people think. How do you keep track of your professional development and learning activities? Do you see a future in e-portfolios? Do you have an e-portfolio?

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