Griffith University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 3724 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The learning landscape for Australian universities has significantly changed due to the increase in blended learning courses and the need for alternative assessment tools. In this paper, we focus on the use of e-portfolios as an assessment tool, an alternative to the traditional examination practices in the Social Sciences discipline of commerce and business. This paper contributes in investigating e-portfolios as an assessment tool from the students’ perceptions point of view. Firstly, it documents the background of portfolios, the successful use of e-portfolios as an assessment tool in a number of disciplines including Arts, Humanities and Medicine but not Social Sciences. Secondly, the paper discusses the pedagogical frameworks that must be considered to ensure they are a meaningful mechanism for the development of knowledge. E-portfolios should not only be seen as new technology but also as pedagogy via shifting the way instruction happens, from teacher-directed towards student-directed methods. The learning landscape framework and the role played by e-portfolios in the transfer and re-use of skills, knowledge and experiences through reflective thinking, and self-assessment. An overarching pedagogical framework that incorporates both technology and education is the Community of Inquiry framework that shows how the use of technology can create and sustain deep meaningful learning and reflection.

This study uses pre and post surveys of students enrolled in an Indigenous business course to investigate students’ attitudes toward e-portfolios as a useful vehicle for facilitating critical reflection and learning. We concentrate on whether this form of assessment contributed to enhanced levels of knowledge and understanding. Survey questions were measured using six-point Likert scale and related to students’ experience on the usability of e-portfolios, technical support and, effectiveness in their learning. In addition, formal student evaluations were included to capture their self-reflections on how they experienced the e-portfolio tool. The empirical analysis was performed with the aid of statistical tools such as parametric t-tests, ANOVA, non-parametric correlations and hierarchical regression.

The findings suggest that demographics were not a significant determinant of existing attitudes experience, and knowledge. It appeared that 88% of participants agree that e-portfolio was a useful vehicle for facilitating critical reflection on one’s learning and for compiling and demonstrating evidence of learning and skill development. The study also assessed the overall impact of the technology on learning, showing that over 80% of participants agree that using e-portfolio has been a valuable experience which has enhanced their learning and understanding of the course. Although both prior knowledge and accessibility were both significantly correlated with overall outcomes, only prior knowledge contributed significant unique prediction. Overall, students showed positive attitudes toward e-portfolios even after controlling for possible confounding variables such as previous experience, attitudes and accessibility. The findings support the literature, especially regarding adaption of e-portfolios in a blended learning environment. The research outcomes will contribute to pedagogical knowledge in the area and have the potential to improve practice and policy regarding an emergent and complex technology and pedagogy.
EPortfolio, active learning assessment, Indigenous business education.