Thursday, March 11, 2010

5.3.3: Good things take time

Article: Wickersham, L.E., & Chambers, S.M. (2010). ePortfolios: Using technology to enhance and assess student learning [Full text PDF]. Education 126(4), 738-746.

Wickersham & Chambers (2006) report on a post first-semester evaluation of a programme ePortfolio implementation (n=26, masters level secondary teacher students). Using a 13 question Likert scale survey and two open-ended questions, they found the following:
  • Students had not made the connection between the use of an ePortfolio and the potential for enhanced self-knowledge, and knowledge and skills transfer. In fact, students were almost evenly divided in terms of a positive, neutral and negative response on the ePortfolio's usefulness.
  • Students did report an improvement in their technology skills however most commented in the open-ended questions that the technical interface was the greatest barrier for them.
This is a useful study in that it clearly demonstrates that ePortfolio use must be purposive, and that its benefits (realised through reflection and the gradual building of a collection of artefacts) take time to be appreciated by students. Wickersham & Chambers (2006, p.744) state that
What was learned from all results is the need to be more effective in helping students make that connection [between the ePortfolio exercise and their own development], and to integrate the ePortfolio concept firmly within the program.
Good things, says the cheese ad, take time.

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