15 February 2012

#H807 case-studies in elearning innovation (4): Use of e-portfolios and blogging in Teacher Education

This case study investigates the introduction of e-portfolios in three teacher education programmes at the University of Wolverhampton.  PebblePAD (http://www.pebblepad.co.uk) was used as e-portfolio system.

The case study discusses well the pedagogical principles that underlie the adoption:
-       Making teacher education more authentic;
-       Encouraging deeper engagement with the course material by stimulating discussing observation underpinned by theoretical understanding.
-       Stimulating learner ownership and control.
-       Develop critical thinking skills, underpinned  by a 'dialogic' approach 
-       Developing a Community of Practice (Lave & Wenger), that continues to be active beyond graduation.
-       Gibbs/ Kolb reflective cycle.  This is a series of writing and thinking frames to prompt and encourage deeper levels of learning and meta-learning.
-       Patchwork text approach.  This focuses on developing shared short formative writing into summative pieces.
-       Personal Learning Environment (rather than a mere content repository).

The author describes the introduction as an astounding success.  Success factors include:

-       Training and support for staff and students.
-       E-mentoring system for ongoing support (system of graduated students supporting subsequent student cohorts)
-       Introduction was based on sound pedagogical principles.
-       Early online socialization
-       Expectation that reflection and analysis will continue beyond the classroom.
-       Providing a safe environment for students to share thoughts.

“Taking an approach which supports confidence and esteem building, early writing, rapid feedback moving into writing/ reflective communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991, Wenger, 2005) is hugely beneficial and supports meta-learning.”

There are drawbacks as well and the author honestly describes her feelings of isolation and frustration that befell her during the pilot programme.  She found that e-portfolios weren’t regarded as seriously as other innovations by colleagues.  “False dichotomies” were created by school directives such as content delivery vs. dialogic approach, VLE vs. E-portfolios that divided many staff and making that the e-portfolios were often considered as an add-on rather than integral to learning.  The author found support in professional communities, leading to an invitation to contribute to a book on e-portfolios.

I found this the case study the most instructive of the four, because of the attention for the learner experience, the honest description of drawbacks and the clear links between the technology and the elements of learning theory on which the adoption of new technology was based.
add to del.icio.us saved by 0 users


  1. Hi Stefan
    You've taken a different approach to looking at the case studies to me, so that's interesting. What I wanted to identify was what the drivers behind the innovation were, was it replicable and who within the institution was behind it. I did that as a though for if I am to put this into a report for management what might be their interests. There is also the element that these case studies are five years old and so the tech has moved forward so much that they mainly wouldn't act as models for other institutions to use.


  2. Hello Judy,

    Thanks for your comment. I will try adopting a more generalising approach when writing the report. In these blog posts I wanted to share the elements of selected case studies that I found most poignant.


  3. Hi Stefaan
    THanks for your post. I found this interesting as I used eportfolios in my teaching training, and it was relatively new then, in fact we were the first cohort to go through using the technology. I find eportfolios a very useful tool with my students now.


  4. Really interesting, it is fact that technology changes with time and there is need for update! Thanks for wonderful post.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.