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Private and professional life is more and more shaped by rapid changes in society and technology. That’s why continuous further education is essential in order to meet the new requirements. In the context of lifelong learning, this article focuses primarily on “learning to learn” as a key competence (European Union, 2018). Therefore, it is essential to develop the ability to self-regulated learning (Zimmerman, 2000) in the first phase of academic training and beyond. Learners must be able to plan, carry out and evaluate their learning process. In order to monitor it successfully, it also requires the ability to reflect.
One instrument that can help learners to regulate their learning process is the ePortfolio (McAllister et al., 2008). In an ePortfolio learners can set their goals individually, document and reflect on their progress with the help of artefacts and thus assess their learning strategies and adapt them, if necessary. Futhermore, outcomes of informal learning can be presented within an ePortfolio as well as outcomes of formal learning activities. For example, in the field of teacher education ePortfolios are used quite widely. The ability to reflect one’s actions is an important aspect of professionalism, which helps teachers to improve their teaching (Schön, 1983). Therefore, it is important, as a prospective teacher, to be able to realistically assess one's own abilities and to know how to acquire new competencies. Teachers have to question their actions constantly and adapt them if necessary. In the German State of Baden-Württemberg keeping an ePortfolio is obligatory for students during the practical phases and is continued in the second phase of training, during the internship. A second field, where ePortfolio is gaining importance, is the academic continuing education. The Academy of Advanced Studies at the University of Konstanz offers academic programmes for professionals. A pilot project will be launched next semester in the part-time bachelor study programme in “Motor Neurorehabilitation” for qualified professional therapists in healthcare. Primarily, the implementation of an ePortfolio in this context aims at giving learners the opportunity to manage and personalise their own digital archive (collection of documents). Secondly, it enables the students to reflect more consciously the inputs and outputs collected - particularly during the time they will be attending their practical internships. Thus, the participants should develop a stronger reflective and critical thinking with regard to the acquired new methods and the experiences collected. Furthermore, the ePortofolio should facilitate group work and encourage interaction with other colleagues (peer review) and/or instructors.
This paper discusses the possibilities of using ePortfolios in teacher training and in academic further education. Based on a theoretical concept for learning and professionalizing with ePortolios in higher education and life long learning, as mentioned before, the potentials in the different fields of application will be presented. Furthermore, we will point out the difficulties and challenges associated with the introduction of an ePortfolio. Finally, an outlook on what is planned for the further development of ePortfolio at the University of Konstanz will be given.
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