New Training Session – Manage Digital Content with E-Portfolios

I’m excited about this new training session for 2016. I’ve long been a proponent of using WordPress and LMS systems like Moodle for class, media and content management – and now the opportunity arises to extend my training offerings into the realm of e-portfolios.

E-Portfolios and Opportunities with PBLA (Portfolio-Based Learning Assessment)

Wikipedia has a great overview of the uses and benefits of using e-portfolios to manage student production and learning:

“One can regard an e-portfolio as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement. Learning records are closely related to the learning plan, an emerging tool which individuals, teams, communities of interest, and organizations use to manage learning.[citation needed] To the extent that a personal learning environment captures and displays a learning record, it may also operate as an electronic portfolio.
E-portfolios, like traditional portfolios, can facilitate students’ reflection on their own learning, leading to more awareness of learning strategies and needs.[2] Comparative research by M. van Wesel and Prop between paper-based portfolios and electronic portfolios in the same setting suggests that use of an electronic portfolio leads to better learning outcomes.”

If you haven’t heard of it PBLA is a massive new assessment program in ESL English instruction based on the use of student portfolios. PBLA stands for Portfolio-Based Learning Assessment.

A description from the program website: “Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) is a teaching and assessment model designed to enhance nationwide consistency and standards of quality in English as a Second Language (ESL) training for adult newcomers to Canada.”

Key elements of PBLA include:

  • Collection and documentation of student work (including roughs, drafts and final documents)
  • Assessment as part of teaching/learning cycle (continuous, ability to adjust learning goals along the way)
  • Alignment with Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB is a descriptive scale of language ability from beginner to advanced)
  • Opportunity for comment and reflection
  • Encouragement of self-directed learning

The concept is great yet additional work is an inevitable by-product. What to do?

One option, which some trainers and teachers have probably recognized as a potential time-saver and organizational boon, is the possibility of having students manage their own portfolios. Ideally this should be done digitally – with students keeping digital documents or scans of paper docs inside a content management system, which in tis case could be anything from a Google Drive folder to a website that uses a CMS or LMS system (Content/Learning Management Systems).

Going digital in this way does not preclude the potential to still have a master printed archive of student work in the classroom. But it’s clear that having everything digitized would make things easier – teachers can monitor student work easily and from anywhere, and more importantly students a) become responsible for their own learning and b) have their own e-portfolio at hand to reflect on their learning process and production.

In the past I have presented and trained teachers and administrators in the use of systems like WordPress and Moodle – both handy for educational purposes. This new training expands on the do-it-yourself LMS concept by introducing the concept of the e-portfolio.

Topics covered:

  • Choosing software (primarily free, web-based)
  • Organizing hard copy and digitizing (via photo or scanning)
  • Benefits of going digital (student work produced in software)
  • Teacher administration (accessing and managing student work and keeping assessment notes and records)


Pre-Training “Food for Thought”

Which tools would be best for you and your colleagues? Is a mobile or social element important to the process?

What are the pros and cons to using Google Drive or other more specialized e-portfolio tools?

Could WordPress be a useful alternative to Moodle? Could tools like Edmodo and Schoology, (both excellent free learning management systems) assist with the process of collecting, assessing and viewing/sharing student work in a digital context?

Each training session will offer flexibility in attempting to meet the needs of you and your institution. There is no one size fits all. Different teachers can work with different tools – though some co-ordination of access is necessary.

I cannot tell you exactly what the correct tools for your situation are but I can offer some suggestions in advance of the training. Please review the links below, particularly the ones that refer to LMS – these offer excellent and often easy class management tools.

If you have any questions about this training please contact Mike at mike @ this domain.

Looking forward to meeting you and working with you on your new e-portfolio development.

Mike Simpson

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Links and Resources:

E-Portfolio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_portfolio

Schoology LMS

Edmodo LMS

WordPress (look at .com and self-hosted options)

CMS / Blog: Blogger, Weebly, Wix and other platforms may work as well. Though they wouldn’t provide all the functions of an LMS.

Other LMS: Moodle may be available but I don’t initially recommend it. It can lack “out of the box” functionality.