Home » E-Learning » E-portfolios in the Netherlands: Stimulus for educational change and life-long learning.

E-portfolios in the Netherlands: Stimulus for educational change and life-long learning.


Aalderink and Veugelers.

  • Focus on competence-oriented education
  • Emphasis on student development
  • Fostering academic maturity
  • Net generation oriented

‘E-portfolios have the potential to offer clarity and flexibility, which various stakeholders in education have a particular need for, both in pedagogic and administrative processes.’

Not convinced of this.

  • Clarity of what?

A poorly constructed e-portfolio might offer obfuscation, another might be empty.

  • Is this clarity?
  • One confused, the other empty-headed?

How close to the student does the examining board want to get?

  • The parent of a child must hold in their heads a portfolio of memories, of evidence.
  • Is this what an e-portfolio is trying to recreate?
  • A rich body of memories with evidence that the events remembered took place and that the ideas a person has had have good provenance?
  • Just so.

Don’t answer the question, who are you?

  • Just handover your e-portfolio – ‘the contents of your mind.’

Case study. NL-Portfolio.

Q1. What were the anticipated outcomes of using an eportfolio in this case?

  • It would cost a good deal, so they ‘discussed the matter with all the educational directors to enrol their commitment to the project.’
  • An increasing focus on academic training and skills.
  • Stimulating the growth of these skills and making them visible in an e-portfolio.
  • Making learning and teaching more efficient and effective.
  • Supporting and improving ‘students’ acquisition of competencies’.
  • To bring about and support a more transparent and flexible workflow for the different stakeholders involved.

‘To realise an environment for learning and teaching in which student centred and competence based learning becomes possible and which supports the transformation in which the students will direct more than before the learning and teaching processes.’

  • Meaningful learning and intrinsic learning
  • The use of different strategies, such as learning from experiences and team learning.
  • Goal-directed learning.
  • New goals (experimentation and innovation)
  • The opportunity to choose your own strategy.
  • Self-responsible learning (the opportunity to pursue your own interests)
  • Learning to regulate and test your own learning process.

Q2. What were the limitations to its implementation?

  • Need to be tailored.
  • Doesn’t suit all curricula.
  • The need for management to change in order to support the use of e-portfolios. (coaching, alternative assessment and ‘learning in authentic situations.’)

The model, along with the large database of experiences and material on the website, helps the institute to choose its ambitions and lines of development from a functional perspective. In this sense working on e-portfolio implementation becomes a form of change management in which the university can work out its specific form of ‘Folio Thinking’.

  • IT infrastructure that works unnoticed and without fail.
  • Both teachers and students need to buy into it.
  • The role of the teacher changes to coach and facilitator of learning processes.
  • A new, IT, commercial, business-like approach was required for implementation.
  • An approach requiring a blueprint for a study career-counseling route with checklists for the managers to steer the pilots and new initiatives. This is an approach that is common practice in the IT world but not so much at this university.
  • E-portfolio implementation is not an easy job to do.
  • Teamwork. (Academics are prone to crave autonomy and behave like hermits) Learning from each other, and making new choices together helps to keep the stakeholders involved.
  • Support by management is crucial.
  • There is of course also the technical challenge: how to create functional workflows in an integrated technical infrastructure?
  • An IT and also therefreo a cultural challenge.

In most cases e-portfolio is not just a single tool (one piece of software), it is more often part of a larger technical configuration, in which the required functionality may be met by the interoperation of different hard- and software tools.

  • Different partners in the educational sector in the Netherlands establish links and develop initiatives beyond educational boundaries.

Q3. How is the eportfolio in this case supposed to help the user to identify and manage their learning?

  • Students direct their learning, using the integrated combination of a learning management system and an e-portfolio.
  • Students are able to get all the information they need to plan their educational path and organise the process. These tools comprise a number of key components: a competence training matrix, a personal development plan, a personal activity plan, a ‘pending’ dossier, a final dossier and an assessment dossier.
  • See Fig. 3.1. Example of Scenario 1: academic training and skills at the Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • In this picture E-portfolio fulfils vital demands for overview and flexibility, which helps answering questions, like “Where do I stand?” and “Where do I move next?” that become even more important in student-centred education.
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