Portfolio can be a collection of evidence in relation to many aspects of ones professional and academic life which will portray the achievements and the experiences gained and the reflections that was made on these achievements / experiences which will indicate the learning or the growth that took place in relation to a particular experience or achievement.
There are many purposes where a portfolio is a useful tool and a learning portfolio is one such tool that is being increasingly used in adult learning.
What is a learning portfolio?
A learning portfolio differs from other types of portfolios because of what is expected out of this tool and could be described as one of the most effective tools used in adult education, if implemented properly.
As described before, it will most likely to be focused on a particular learning engagement such as for a program of study, specific module or a course, etc., although it can be a lifelong learning tool as well.
But, the bottom line is, a learning portfolio will demonstrate the learning that took place during a particular experience and will illustrate to the reader, either the author himself or to an external party, how the experience leads to building of knowledge and a critical evaluation on the whole process of learning in relation to achievements, failures, and further development. It will link the evidence with the reflection and will enable the reader to immerse into the experience rather than obtain just facts.
What are the important elements to follow in preparing a learning portfolio?
- Before preparing the learning portfolio, read and be thorough with the requirements and the guidelines issued by the educational institute or else follow a standard structure which is appropriate for your type of learning.
- Remember that the portfolio is not a simple collection of documents related to one particular instance of time but should spread out throughout the learning process and should describe the learning that took place and to what extent, with the support of the evidence.
- Be on the lookout for the multitude of material that can go into the learning portfolio and try to avoid duplicates as much as possible.
- Be methodical in presenting the evidence and correlating them within the reflection as it is easy to get lost within so much of learning material or other evidence of learning.
- In case the portfolio is a requirement for a learning program, make sure the process that you adapt is what is expected by discussing the developing portfolio with a supervisor.
- Do not adapt what was written or illustrated by someone else in preparing a portfolio as it will therefore not demonstrate the learning taken place within you and therefore will not serve its purpose as a learning tool.
- Try to correlate theory into practice as much as possible which will give credibility to your action as well as demonstrate your scholarliness in the presentation.
- Always remember that the portfolio should be something portable and the term ‘concise’ should be in the back of the head when preparing a learning portfolio.