Central to this dissertation was a 3-year action research project, which was carried out in the extra-occupational master study course, “eEducation MA”, with the aim to develop, implement and, in particular, analyze an integrative eportfolio concept for academic qualification. Integrative means that the eportfolio is academically as well as didactically rooted, on various levels, in the curriculum. The research questions and design focused on the benefit and relevance of the eportfolio for students. The final analysis, therefore, relies on qualitative interviews that were carried out with alumni from two different age groups, primarily using the Grounded Theory Methodology. Resulting from their descriptions of problem areas, critical factors as well as learning strategies, this dissertation provides direct recommendations for the implementation of eportfolios as well as various contributions concerning the theory of eportfolios in the form of three models. The main result of the empirical study is a 4-phase-model, which describes the long-term use of eportfolios from the perspective of students according to four phases: “orientate yourself”, “position yourself”, “identify yourself” and “present yourself”. Especially in the second phase, areas of conflict in the eportfolio become noticeable between reflexive learning and the development of a “digital career identity“.
Apart from that, the empirical study shows that the design of the portfolio was of crucial importance in the phase of orientation and identification, and that the students encountered the most difficulties with the process of reflection. In order to specify well-established visualizations of present eportfolio literature, two further models were developed which complement one another. The Process Model emphasizes the terms “design” and “feedback” and describes the eportfolio process in two main cycles: “design” and “re-design”. The Structure Model consists of three layers called “Products of Learning“ (Repository), “Process of Learning“ (Journal) und “Representation of Learning“ (Showcase), which are arranged one upon the other. The Structure Model provides links to the individual steps of the Process Model and, in particular, illustrates how from the middle level one’s own learning process can be observed, reflected and navigated.
Further material in English you can find here in my presentation for the ePIC Conference 2012 in London.