A. Jamie, W. McInally

Edinburgh Napier University (UNITED KINGDOM)
This presentation will showcase how Mahara ePortfolios are being used at Edinburgh Napier University to underpin electronic professional development planning (ePDP) to support the personal development tutor (PDT) role. The ePDP pilot (2014) used a mixed methodology research approach with a cohort of Child Health nursing students, within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care (SNMSC).

“An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items - ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc, which ‘presents’ a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability” (Sutherland and Powell, 2007).

Effective learning, teaching and assessment is dependent on learners having access to support and being encouraged throughout their studies. It is recognised that students will require support at some point in their academic life (Stevenson, 2009). The Effective Learning Framework (ELF) (QAA, 2007) provides a basis for an institutional model to support tutors in the implementation of Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) specifically with ePortfolios.

There are three overlapping areas within the framework:
• In the Personal area, learners develop their generic skills and also the ability to interrelate all aspects of their learning experience. This could include academic experiences and other experiences gained perhaps through part-time work, or sabbatical appointments with student associations.
• Career-related skills such as career Development planning, interview techniques and self-presentation are included in the model. There would be substantial involvement of the institution’s Careers Service including in the implementation of ELF from the very beginning of the process in this area and it is essential that the Careers Service is involved in the implementation of ELF from the very beginning of the process.
• In the Academic area of ELF, learners would be expected to clarify and embed the development of their knowledge and understanding of their subject-specific skills as related to specific learning outcomes specifically through a Portfolio.

A mixed methodology approach was utilised with one cohort of 50 child health nursing students during 2014. Data was collected through an online evaluation and a focus group over one trimester. Findings from the research highlight that ePDP supports the PDT role, enhances student learning and encourages independent and self-confident learners. Other findings suggest that students engage in reflective practice and their ability to articulate personal goals and achievements improve.

The Personal Development Tutor (PDT) role within Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) involves all students and academic staff and has the overall aim of enhancing the student learning experience. Student engagement and belonging to a cohesive learning community is central to the overall student experience and success. This research pilot has encouraged academic colleagues to engage in ePDP development for all students on the undergraduate nursing programme.