A Review Of The Literature On Portfolios And Electronic Portfolios

As part of the Tertiary Education Commission’s e-Learning Collaboration Development Fund,Massey University, the Auckland University of Technology, the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and Victoria University of Wellington have been contracted to develop an electronic portfolio application for the New Zealand tertiary sector. To provide a context for the development of the electronic portfolio application and guidelines for its use, a review of the literature on electronic portfolios and more traditional paper-based portfolios has been conducted.


This literature review focuses on portfolio use in tertiary education institutions in general. However, as teacher education is the field most advanced in thinking about portfolios (as acknowledged by other disciplines (e.g. Davies, Khera, & Stroobant, 2005; Grant, Kinnersley, Metcalf, Pill, & Houston, 2006)), most of the general statements about portfolios are drawn from the education literature. Pinsky and Fryer-Edwards (2004, p. 585) go so far as to say that medicine “must learn from the field of teacher education where teachers in training havem adapted the portfolio approach to make the activity of teaching visible”. Research on electronic portfolios in particular is fairly new, though, again, most studies so far have focused on their uses for the learning and development of preservice teachers (Milman & Kilbane, 2005; Sherry & Bartlett, 2005).