Learning at university requires several study competences. Especially in comparison to school learning, where teachers guide students a lot, students have more choices at university (Bembenutty, 2011). Moreover, there are a lot of possibilities about how, that is, with which learning strategies to study the course contents. Hence, students are required to self-regulate their learning process (Boekaerts, 1999; Zimmerman, 1990).
A tool that might help students to reflect on these processes and thereby monitor and evaluate their learning behavior seems to be presented by portfolios (Gläser-Zikuda, Fendler, Noack, & Ziegelbauer, 2011; Paulson, Paulson, & Meyer, 1991; Wade & Yarbrough, 1996). During the portfolio construction process, students are supposed to plan, document, and reflect on their individual learning activities. While, in teacher education, there is a lot of research on teaching portfolios (e.g., De Rijdt, Tiquet, Dochy, & Devolder, 2006; Wolf & Dietz, 1998; Zeichner & Wray, 2001), we focus on learning portfolios in this study with aspects of a process/developmental and reflective portfolio (cf., Alexiou & Paraskeva, 2010; Tillema & Smith, 2000, for definitions of the several portfolio types).
In the last decade, electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) found their way into tertiary education and have been increasingly used in higher education (Wakimoto & Lewis, 2014). E-portfolios are seen as a tool for constructing and managing students’ own knowledge and thereby enhancing self-regulated learning skills (Alexiou & Paraskeva, 2010). Advantages of e-portfolios are, for example, that information can electronically be more easily organized and that information can be shared through forums (Oakley, Pegrum, & Johnston, 2013).
Several studies investigated higher education students’ perceptions of e-portfolios. For example, Wakimoto & Lewis (2014) found that students evaluated the construction of their e-portfolios as useful and helpful in reflecting on their competencies. However, besides that e-portfolios might be a helpful tool for students to reflect and monitor their learning, e-portfolios themselves can be seen as time-consuming and additional work-load, as a study with open-ended questions by Imhof and Picard (2009) suggests. This seems a critical issue because then students might not value the use of the portfolio (Wade & Yarbrough, 1996). Moreover, besides the need for self-regulated skills, e-portfolios require information and communication technology (ICT) literacy (Wuetherick & Dickinson, 2015). Finally, especially for computer mediated learning environments, Hodges (2005) considers self-regulated learning strategies as necessary because of the unfamiliar learning situation and other and social factors.
Hence, e-portfolios might either require or support self-regulated learning strategies. The question is whether this leads to a synergetic effect or if the use of e-portfolios rather leads to an overload that hinders successful learning. Therefore, to plan and implement specific trainings for the use of e-portfolios, educators need to know how students actually use the different components of an e-portfolio. In our study, we use the e-portfolio as a tool to reflect students’ learning behavior over the time of one term. With this approach we hope to be able to get insight into the actual use and derive implications for the future implementation, that is, which components of the portfolio need further prompting or training.
First, we want to examine, how—untrained—students use an e-portfolio during a term. That is, how often do they use the features of the e-portfolio, how much time do they spend with the e-portfolio and which strategies do they implement during the term. To investigate whether the use of the e-portfolio is beneficial for the students, we test whether students who use the e-portfolio outperform students without e-portfolio use and examine which aspects of the e-portfolio use influence exam performance.
Alexiou, A., & Paraskeva, F. (2010). Enhancing self-regulated learning skills through the implementation of an e-portfolio tool. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 3048-3054. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.463 Bembenutty, H. (2011). Introduction: Self-regulation of learning in postsecondary education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 126, 3–8. doi: doi:10.1002/tl.439 Boekaerts, M. (1999). Self-regulated learning: where we are today. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(6), 445–457. De Rijdt, C., Tiquet, E., Dochy, F., & Devolder, M. (2006). Teaching portfolios in higher education and their effects: An explorative study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 1084-1093. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2006.07.002 Gläser-Zikuda, M., Fendler, J., Noack, J., & Ziegelbauer, S. (2011). Fostering self-regulated learning with portfolios in schools and higher education. Orbis Scholae, 5(2), 67–78. Hodges, C. B. (2005). Self-regulation in Web-based courses: A review and the need for research. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 6, 375–383. Imhof, M., & Picard, C. (2009). Views on using portfolio in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(1), 149-154. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.08.001 Oakley, G., Pegrum, M., & Johnston, S. (2013). Introducing e-portfolios to pre-service teachers as tools for reflection and growth: lessons learnt. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42(1), 36-50. doi: 10.1080/1359866x.2013.854860 Paulson, F. L., Paulson, P. R., & Meyer, C. A. (1991). What Makes a Portfolio a Portfolio? Educational Leadership, 48(5), 60–63. Tillema, H. H., & Smith, K. (2000). Learning from portfolios: Differential use of feedback in portfolio construction. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 26, 193–210. Wade, R. C., & Yarbrough, D. B. (1996). Portfolios: A tool for reflective thinking in teacher education? Teaching and Teacher Education, 12(1), 63-79. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0742-051X(95)00022-C Wakimoto, D. K., & Lewis, R. E. (2014). Graduate student perceptions of eportfolios: Uses for reflection, development, and assessment. The Internet and Higher Education, 21, 53-58. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2014.01.002 Wolf, K., & Dietz, M. (1998). Teaching portfolios: Purposes and possibilities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 25(1), 9–22. Wuetherick, B., & Dickinson, J. (2015). Why ePortfolios? Student perceptions of ePortfolio use in continuing education learning environments. International Journal of ePortfolio, 5, 39-53. Zeichner, K., & Wray, S. (2001). The teaching portfolio in US teacher education programs: what we know and what we need to know. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 613–621. Zimmerman, B. J. (1990). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: An overview. Educational Psychologist, 25(1), 3–17.
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