Author: Isbel S, Wicks A and Nuessler S Publication Year: 2014
Summary: E-portfolios can be a useful teaching, learning and professional tool. This study aimed to determine if an e-portfolio (Mahara) could be use to map occupational therapy student competency as they moved through a graduate entry course.
Description: Context: E-portfolios can be a useful teaching, learning and professional tool. This study aimed to determine if an e-portfolio (Mahara) could be use to map occupational therapy student competency as they moved through a graduate entry course. The study also aimed to determine whether an e-portfolio was a useful tool in developing reflective practice and to report on student perceptions when using an e-portfolio.

Methods: A longitudinal, mixed methods design was used. Questionnaires were given to all first year students (n=16) in the first semester of study and then again in the final semester of study (n=9).

Results: Students reported that using an e-portfolio is a potentially useful teaching, learning and professional tool, particularly as a tool to develop reflective practice. However, students preferred existing methods of recording and storing this information and did not engage with the e-portfolio if the associated tasks were not assessable. Students were more engaged with an e-portfolio when using it as a tool during practice education to develop critical reflection skills. The main barrier to using an e-portfolio was the perceived ease of use of the technology.

Discussion: In this study, an e-portfolio was not successful in mapping student competency, but was useful as a tool for reflective practice. An e-portfolio can be useful in occupational therapy education, however teachers should carefully consider the purpose of the portfolio, the associated tasks and the ease of use of the technology.

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