The Broad and Diverse Benefits of E-PortfoliosBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
For several years now, students and educators alike have been embracing the broad and diverse benefits of e-portfolios. With the vast majority of employers now showing preference to primarily digital recruitment processes, e-portfolios satisfy the expectations and requirements of an evolving job market.
But what remains interesting is how many colleges and universities in North America and Canada are still not leveraging digital portfolios to their full potential. Praise and support for electronic portfolios among students and faculty members alike is unanimous, yet some remain reluctant to get behind the shift to e-portfolio creation and maintenance.
The Basics of the E-Portfolio
What is important to acknowledge where the e-portfolio is concerned is that building and managing an electronic portfolio is about far more than presenting your best work for future employers. With real-time access to something of a 'showreel' of their accomplishments to date, learners can continuously track their performance, identify their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
Ultimately, e-portfolios are an important tool for continuous personal and professional development - invaluable in today's competitive job market.
In terms of content, a digital portfolio can also be used to house significantly more materials and a more diverse range of media than a traditional portfolio. Just a few examples of the materials a digital portfolio may comprise include the following:
Digital copies of exam results and general academic papers
Copies of dissertations, essays and assignments completed
Formal evidence of academic achievements and course completions
A dynamic mix of media including video clips, photographs and art
Endorsements, references and professional/academic recommendations
Information on extracurricular activities and accomplishments
One of the biggest benefits of an electronic portfolio is the way in which it can be effectively utilized by almost any candidate in any learning environment. Traditionally, portfolios have been more closely associated with students in a select few specialist areas - art, graphic design, architecture and so on.
With a digital portfolio, it is possible to put together an impressive and convincing showcase of your achievements, irrespective of your area of study.
What Are the Benefits of E-Portfolios?
According to the market research experts at LISTedTECH.com, the gradual adoption of digital portfolios is likely to continue indefinitely. Shy of a few specialist subject areas, employers are increasingly accepting evidence of achievements and capabilities exclusively in digital form.
But even if this was not the case, the benefits of digital portfolios would still outweigh those of their conventional counterparts by a considerable margin. Just a few of the advantages of e-portfolios any student could gain access to include the following:
It is becoming increasingly common for employers and educational institutions alike to request digital portfolios as a standard element of their application and enrolment processes. In which case, candidates need to present a digital portfolio to get their application through the door in the first place.
As previously touched upon, an instant-access portfolio that provides a real-time account of a learner's accomplishments is an important motivational tool. Ideal for providing priceless insights into strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.
Over time, an electronic portfolio evolves into an insightful resource for students who may not be sure where they would like to see themselves in the future. By building a detailed picture of where your strengths lie, it becomes easier to visualise yourself in specific sectors or professions.
The simplicity of building and managing an electronic portfolio is another major advantage. As is the ability to access, edit and manage various aspects of an electronic portfolio via any connected device from any location and at any time.
If authorized to do so by the candidate in question, educators and faculty members can access students' digital portfolios to perform their own analysis with regard to strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.
The submission of electronic portfolios to potential employers or higher-education providers is exponentially easier than providing hard copies of documentation and proof of academic achievements.
It is practically impossible for the contents of a digital portfolio to come to harm, as a good e-portfolio will be backed up on a regular basis and stored in multiple locations to avoid issues in the case of data loss.
While there will always be a place for traditional portfolios, more employers and educators than ever before are embracing the benefits of the digital alternative.
Far from simple tools of convenience, an e-portfolio can proactively support the education, development and future employment of candidates across all subject areas and specialisms without exception.