Implementation Guidelines

From ePortfolio Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Implementation Gudelines: general part


These guidelines aim at helping you with implementing ePortfolios in your organisation by being a clearing house of existing implementation strategies and relevant know-how for schools, universities, companies and other public or non-profit institutions.

Initially, we provide you with general ideas about ePortfolios by showing you some characteristics of educational settings and contexts of ePortfolio use. Thus, ePortfolios can support competence or skills oriented teaching, they can be used as an instrument for assessment or they can serve as a knowledge management tool. Even though the individual learner’s ePortfolio is more known, as there has been done more research into it,there are group or company ePortfolios as well.

The next section, “Recommended ePortfolio models, concepts and tools”, gives you an insight into requirements before implementing an ePortfolio (EUROPORTFOLIO Matrix), learning processes that can be facilitated with ePortfolios. The embedding of the ePortfolio within (higher) education and organizational settings and its use as a LLL tool is demonstrated via the ePortfolio meta model, while a Taxonomy of ePortfolios shows the manifold purposes of ePortfolios. If you have decided to implement ePortfolios in your institution, you can have a look at the evaluation of ePortfolio software/platforms in order to choose the tool appropriate for your context.

The following section “Approved implementation processes and requirements” can serve as a model for your own implementation. The instructions and checklists mentioned in this section give you guidance through the process of implementation. However, you can additionally have a glance at the challenges you have to face when implementing ePortfolios. The brief list of keywords is aimed at helping you brainstorming and/or considering what you have to care for. Glossaries are a part of this Wiki as well. They were developed by different experts in the field of ePortfolio and will hopefully help you to get acquainted with the terminology.

Characteristics of educational settings and contexts for ePortfolio use

An ePortfolio is an educational tool. Even if it is used mainly as an online CV, its creator will usually set her-/himself aims that include ongoing professional development and learning (in many cases combined with the documentation of prior learning). Therefore we want to point at some theoretical backgrounds. However, if you prefer to see ePortfolios implemented right away, please link title start here.

Outcomes based learning

When the results are clearly defined and the evidence of learning is the driving force of the design process then e-portofolio can support performance and presentation of the achievements. With the complex nature of competences it might be useful for the learner to grasp the actual skills mastered and translate them to the language of digital evidence.

There are a broad range of definitions of key skills and key competences which can form the basis of implementation guidelines for ePortfolios. Outcome based learning can be another didactical basis of ePortfolio implementation.

ePortfolios as a learner-centered tool (benefits for the author)

Salzburg research state in a study on ePortfolios that „it is impossible to speak about one ePortfolio approach“ only. They use the following definition: "ePortfolio is a digital collection of “skillfully made works” (lat. artefacts) of one person who thus wants to document and illustrate the product (learning outcomes) and the process (learning path/growth) of the development of her/his expertise in a certain time span and for certain purposes. The respective person picked the selection of the artefacts autonomously and arranged them in accordance with the learning target. As an owner, she/he has the complete control who can review at what time which amount of information from the Portfolio." (Hornung-Prähauser e.a. 2007, translated by Andrea Ghoneim)

A look into the ePortfolio process model by Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann can illustrate what learner-centered tool means for the use and ownership of ePortfolios.

The Shift in the Role of the Teacher

Peter Baumgartner shows in his paper The Zen Art of Teaching (2004) a shift in the teacher's role from teacher to trainer to coach in CMS-based learning scenarios. Baumgartner sees the changes from Teaching I (transfer of information) to Teaching II (tutoring) and Teaching III (coaching) related to the use of CMS in education. The implementation of learner centered tools such as ePortfolios (usually basing on a CMS) implies a change of the role of learners and teachers alike. It is understood by most teachers in the 21st century that they don’t mainly transfer information (often mistakenly apostrophed as "knowledge") any more. Teachers got acquainted to the role of a tutor, but 21st century classrooms need an extension of the teacher's role to be a coach, as well.


“ePortfolio based learning offers a real potential for autonomous and personalised learning.“ (JISC 2008). Therefore, ePortfolio assessment has to take this autonomy into consideration. If ePortfolios are assessed in a course context, the ePortfolio process model (Himpsl-Gutermann) should be used to understand in which parts of the ePortfolio process which kind of assessment can take place.


A basis defining the context of an ePortfolio can be self-assessment. The criteria can either be defined by learning outcomes defined in a curriculum or standardized competency portfolios. Self assessment serves both the analysis of the status quo of a learner and the setting of goals for learners. It can be repeated in various stages of the ePortfolio process to make the learning progress visible - both to the owner of an ePortfolio.

Peer Assessment

Peer assessment gives learners the chance to give feedback to a peer's ePortfolio while in return being assessed by this peer. Peer assessment should be part of the ePortfolio process. It can be both summative and formative, however, formative assessment serves better to give the learner hints what to do next to ameliorate/redesign her/his ePortfolio.

Details on =>peer assessment

Assessment for and of learning

The assessment is determined by the goal of the ePortfolio. Two types of assessment are usually defined, however with such a compound method as ePortfolio is it very unlikely only one type is going to be applied. The strategies may vary depending on the current stage of the ePortfolio process for the learners. Following criteria/factors should be considered when designing assessment of ePortfolio for a particular purpose:

  • Assessment of the product
    • compliance of the evidence with the ePortfolio goal
    • evidence for the particular categories (eg. for competences, topics)
    • particular components of ePortfolio in terms of quantity and quality (eg. resolution of images, sufficient number of artifacts)
    • final presentation
    • layout, overall esthetics
  • Assessment of the process
    • systematic work
    • engagement of the author and the audience (eg. peers)
    • compliance of the evidence with the e-portfolio goal
    • recording development regardless the quality of artifacts
    • ability to reflect and take up action
    • documentation of the non-formal and informal learning outcomes

See also: ePortfolio as product and/or Process (Helen Barrett)

Recommended ePortfolio models, concepts and tools

This section is intended as a starting and/or orientation point to give you an insight into models, concepts and tools that enable you to work with ePortfolios.

The Europortfolio MATRIX [1]

In 2013/2014, EUROPORTFOLIO has elaborated a Matrix that is aimed at helping organisations to plan and reflect on current developments and lay the foundations for the development of a review tool (self-assessment of institutions) that will be used to plan, monitor and review ePortfolios and Open Badges policies, technologies and practices. A webinar, held by Serge Ravet [2] on July 2, 2014, shows the state of the art. [3]

The ePortfolio process

The ePortfolio process can be described using the model of Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann [4] 2012. The model shows the different phases of the process of building an ePortfolio, taking into consideration the use of ePortfolios in educational institutions. The prototypical process model can be used in scenarios for blended learning and in online scenarios.

Nick Rate, ICTPD National Facilitator at CORE Education, New Zealand, shows a comparable model, the ePortfolio Development Cycle, in which the process is represented by learning loops. In these loops, the learners' actions are driven by reflection and feedback towards new goals. Once the goal is set, the collection and selection of artifacts is accompanied by constructive comments and insight into the portfolio owner's work.

The ePortfolio meta-model

The meta-model of ePortfolio usage in Lifelong Learning was developed by Igor Balaban [5], Blaženka Divjak, and Enrique Mu in 2011. It helps to comprehend the ePortfolio as a concept, including its mission and purpose. The model serves as a basis to analyze the context in which ePortfolio is embedded. The model takes into account the individual user, the (academic) institution and the employer.

Taxonomy of ePortfolios

A Taxonomy of ePortfolios can show how many types of ePortfolios exist and thus create awareness of the variety of its use for learning. There are three main types of ePortfolios:

Developmental Portfolios: They show development of a learner's skills over a period of time. Developmental portfolios are work-in-progress and may include both self-assessment and reflection/feedback elements.

Assessment Portfolios: They demonstrate a learner's competence and skills for defined areas. The primary purpose is to evaluate a portfolio owner's competency as defined by standards or (learning) outcomes.

Presentation Portfolios (also known as "Showcase Portfolios"): This type of ePortfolio showcases exemplary work and its creator's skills. This type of portfolio can be used both to address potential employers or to demonstrate products of informal learning.

Most ePortfolios are hybrids of these three types of ePortfolios. However, Peter Baumgartner [6] shows in his taxonomy of ePortfolios (2008, 2012, cf. also the embedding in, an even richer differentiation, taking into consideration the ownership of ePortfolios (personal/institutional) and their orientation (product/process).

Evaluation of ePortfolio software/platforms

Himpsl-Gutermann and Baumgartner (2009) developed a criteria checklist for evaluation of e-portfolio systems. However, depending on the definition and the main type of ePortfolio, it is still up to the user/the authority to determine which functions of a software/platform are obligatory and which functions are just optional.

Approved implementation processes and requirements

JISC implementation model and toolkit

JISC [7] provides interested parties with an exhaustive, yet very comprehensive implementation toolkit [8]. In a continuous update and upgrade process, accompanying materials like online resources, video case-studies and an online toolkit for managers and practitioners have been published [9].

The JISC implementation model [10] is guided by the following principles:

A The purpose of the ePortfolio needs to be aligned to the context to maximise benefits

(from a practitioner's perspective, this means that there needs to be clarity over diversity of purposes for ePortfolios at the start the implementation, otherwise there will be misunderstandings and thus an ineffective implementation)

B the learning activities need to be designed to suit the purpose of the ePortfolio

(Teachers or trainers ideally should develop a pilot e-portfolio for themselves to understand its potential for learning. This is the ideal basis to design and suggest appropriate learning activities.)

C Processes need to be supported technologically and pedagogically

It is important to provide both teachers and learners with ongoing support on the technical level. However, pedagogical support should not be underestimated either to make both teachers and students acquainted to the new teaching and learning setting.

D The ownership of the ePortfolio needs to be student centered

(even though at some stages parts of the ePortfolio are opened to peers, an assessment authority or a broader audience, the ePortfolio is owned by the learner who decides which parts of it to share - learners need to understand the use of the private parts of the learner-centered tool)

E transformation and/or disruption needs to be planned for

(learners and those who are supporting them need to develop new practice - the evaluation of user's feedback and the ongoing development of practice has to be part of the implementation plan)

JISC suggests to apply these key principles across 5 stages: 0 Prior developments 1 Planning 2 Early adoption 3 Embedding 4 Sustaining

Furthermore, JISC published an "Implementing e-portfolios checklist" at which is a good preparation for implementation and gives good bullet points for self-evaluation of institutions, for workshops with directors/managers, for staff CPD and user training in connection with implementation.

"Pre-flight Checklist" - Ministry of education (NZ) 2011

The Ministry of education of New Zealand offers in its "Digital Portfolios. Guidelines for beginners"[11] a "pre-flight checklist" which should be considered carefully before starting ePortfolio implementation. Edited to suit a broader group of institutions and users, the list reads as follows:

1. Has the introduction of the ePortfolio approach been developed from strategy rather than from competition?

2. Is the model of electronically developing and demonstrating competences already well established and bedded-in?

3. Are senior leaders, including the head or president of your institution or company, involved and supportive?

4. Have you identified key staff (champions)?

5. Can the key staff be freed from some of their other regular commitments?

6. Do senior leaders understand and appreciate the reasons why, and manner in which ePortfolios are evolving?

7. Do you have well documented and practised online security and privacy routines for coaches, trainers and users?

8. Do key members of staff appreciate the power of the ePortfolio for their own personal learning development?

9. Have you prepared an implementation plan, timeline, and evaluation checklist for key phases?

10. Is the institution’s/company's network, hardware and broadband situation capable and ready?

11. Do users and staff have high speed internet (and computers) at home and at the institution/company?

12. Does the institution/company understand and support the pedagogy shift?

13. Have all equity issues been identified and worked through?

14. Is the strategy fully integrated into a whole of learning approach for the trainers/coaches and students/staff involved?

15. Can the speed of the roll out of the initiative be supported?

16. Is the staff’s ICT capability and capacity sufficient?

17. Is the staff prepared and their role in the ePortfolio initiative clearly understood?

18. Have you arranged for coaching staff training well in advance of the rollout?

19. Do you have high-level technical support for the network and computers and readily available professional advice for teachers/trainers/coaches?

20. Is the place of the ePortfolio clear – is it part of a wider Managed Learning Environment (MLE) roll out, or does it sit alongside the MLE?

21. Does the funding allow for ongoing support and training and will it accommodate an increasing uptake?

22. Have you talked to and/or visited similar types of reference institutions?

23. Is the community aware of any implications that will impact upon the homes?

QUT - Australian ePortfolio project (2008/2009)

The Australian ePortfolio project was carried out in two stages. Stage 1 was devoted to the examination of the state of the art of ePortfolio practice in Australian higher education. As it could be shown the state of play was fragmented, but, however, there was also clear evidence of strong interest across the sector. The 2nd stage of the project focused on building the Australian community of practice through an online forum and through further ePortfolio symposium activities. A further outcome was a toolkit which can be used for ePortfolio implementation - not only in higher education.

Further information:

AeP Concept Guide for learners [12]

AeP Concept Guide for academic staff [13]

AeP Concept Guide for IT and T&L support staff [14]

AeP Concept Guide for institutional managers [15]

AeP Concept Guide for employers, professional bodies [16]

AeP Concept Guide for staff/employees [17]

Managing Privacy for Academic Staff [18]

Managing Privacy for Institutional IT Managers [19]

Managing Privacy for Learners [20]

Further approved implementation processes

This section provides you with a set of implementation processes for different target groups.

Lorfolio - ePortfolio for inhabitants of Lorraine

In 2006, the regional council of the Lorraine region (France) had the idea to offer its citizens a personalized tool that allows them to make their education and experiences visible. Starting from 2007, a feasibility study and a large-scale experimentation (4000 accounts created, 500 professionals involved) was carried out. The experimentation period, accompanied by an evaluation of the necessary conditions for the project success, made it possible to organize specific measures for accompanying Lorfolio - an ePortfolio tool for all inhabitants of the Lorraine. Guidance tools were developed cautiously - even a phone hotline is at disposal for users.

Since 2013 every citizen of the Lorraine has access to Lorfolio. The ePortfolio tool is the basis for a fruitful dialogue between its creator/owner und the experts who accompany her/him through her/his professional development and the realisation of her/his projects.

Further information:

Career Portfolio Manitoba: Inclusion of immigrants through ePortfolios

The "Settlement at Work" Wiki of the Ontario Immigrant-serving Sector offers a section entitled "EPortfolios for Employability and Professional Development" (

This Wiki page explains ePortfolios very briefly with a focus on practitioners. A slide presentation of Don Preasant with integrated sound shows the implementation of the Career Portfolio Manitoba. The ePortfolios base on "Canada’s Essential Skills, contextualized by workplace occupation" (1. Reading text, 2. Document use, 3. Writing, 4. Numeracy, 5. Computer skills, 6. Oral communication, 7. Thinking skills – Problem Solving, Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Job Task Planning and Organizing, Significant Use of Memory, Finding Information, 8. Working with others, 9. Continuous learning).

Part of the implementation strategy is an online course, addressing course leaders. Parts of this course are accessible without login and thus can provide orientation both to other course leaders, but also for setting up one's own CPD materials.

The Wiki as well as the presentation furthermore show exemplar ePortfolios which are publicly accessible. They are "Fictional, idealized; a model for others to follow...".

The Career Portfolio Manitoba is defined as "a free employability tool" focusing on building a resumé and cataloguing "skills and showcase them to help you get hired and advance in your career." (cf: Public Page - Career Portfolio Manitoba/ by

EUfolio: Implementation in lower secondary schools across Europe

EUfolio-EU classroom ePortfolios [21](May 2013-April 2015) is devoted to address the challenges of integrating ePortfolios in teaching and learning and transforming classroom practice in lower secondary schools. The pilot - implementation in in Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Spain - was prepared by input of the partners, which was partially promoted by a preparatory questionnaire. The implementation of ePortfolios was based on JISC’s „Six steps to e-portfolio-based learning“ (JISC 2008: 36-37) as well as on JISC’s „Implementing e-portfolios checklist“ (2008/2012).

General features of the pilot include:

  • a focus on student learning (process centric);
  • promotion of student reflection and collaboration;
  • fostering of peer and self-assessment;
  • supporting teachers in providing formative feedback and tracking students’ progress;
  • promotion of critical thinking and metacognition.

On the basis of a policy and practice review and a process specification as well as a functional specification, two ePortfolio platforms (Mahara and Microsoft based) for teaching, learning and assessment use were designed, developed and tested. The second phase of the pilot (starting in September 2014) will involve further groups of teachers and learners.

The EUfolio consortium recommended a teacher-centered implementation of ePortfolios to the pilot schools. Well prepared teachers are developing projects and/or teaching methods involving ePortfolios in the curriculum. This, however, means that teachers have to have the full support on policy, institutional, and technical level as well as ongoing CPD (continuing professional development) support. Teacher-centered also means, that teachers understand the learner-centered approach of teaching and learning with ePortfolios.

In order to ensure a common approach to the teacher's CPD, a "train the trainer" workshop [22] was held by the partners involved and attended by teacher trainers from all piloting countries. On the basis of this workshop and a trainer's booklet, teacher's trainings were carried out. The teachers furthermore are offered constant support - for didactic and technical questions alike.

(Europortfolio covers the progress of EUfolio, cf for example:

ePortfolio Implementation at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia 2012)

Christine Slade of the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) reports about the first phases of (pre-)implementation before a university-wide rollout in 2014. A slide presentation shows the following steps:

  • Start an e-mail interest group
  • Feasibility study
  • Work with colleagues (ask for their opinion and inform them at the same time)
  • Collect evidence (pedagogical and professional uses of ePortfolios)
  • Address all inquiry levels
  • Learn from others
  • Get to know the eLearning staff
  • Gain institutional support early
  • Staged implementation with a pilot with early adopters (2 study courses - 115 students)
  • Staff training for the management team, L&L staff, academics (including sessional staff)
  • Join a community of practice through publishing

European Language Portfolio

The European Language Portfolio (ELP) bases on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference [for Languages]).

To summarize the main points (according to Council of Europe 2000), the ELP

  • is a tool to promote plurilingualism and pluriculturalism
  • is the property of the learner
  • values the full range of the learner’s language and intercultural competence and experience regardless of whether acquired within or outside formal education
  • is a tool to promote learner autonomy
  • has both a pedagogic function to guide and support the learner in the process of language learning and a reporting function to record proficiency in languages
  • encourages learner self-assessment and the recording of assessment by teachers, educational authorities and examination bodies

The ELP should consist of a Language Passport section which provides an overview of the individual’s proficiency in different languages at a given point in time. A Standard Language Passport is offered within the European Union’s Europass. Another part of the Language Portfolio, the Language Biography, facilitates the learner’s involvement in planning, reflecting upon and assessing his or her learning process and progress. Finally, the Dossier is the most open part of the ELP – in many models it consists simply of a title page and a table of contents. Some ELPs have both a process dossier (i.e., a collection of materials that supports learning in progress) and a display dossier (i.e., a selection of the learner’s work that shows off his/her proficiency to good effect). In the Dossier, the learner can document and illustrate achievements or experiences recorded in the Language Biography or Passport.

Source: Council of Europe. 2000. European Language Portfolio (ELP). Principles and Guidelines; with added explanatory notes.

The ELP is the most implemented ePortfolio model. Visit the website Using the European Language Portfolio for more information.

Institutional, technological and pedagogical challenges

These bullet points should serve to give you an idea about challenges that need to be faced and discussed when implementing ePortfolios. Here are some points to give you a brief idea what could/should be addressed. Please have a look at the more specific implementation guidelines for teachers and for institutions in order to go into details.

Institutional challenges

  • schools/universities between curriculum reform and external assessment
  • testing "challenges"
  • embedding into curriculum
  • companies/institutions facing a new knowledge management strategy
  • staff motivation
  • learners' motivation
  • extra working time

Technological challenges

  • ICT infrastructure
  • Software
  • ICT skills of learners and teachers
  • technical support staff
  • sustainability
  • portability

Pedagogical challenges

  • building up a learning portfolio
  • negotiating learning objectives with learners vs curriculum
  • coaching of learners,
  • initiating and/or facilitating group interaction,
  • supervision of self- and peer-assessment,
  • learning motivation through formative assessment

Copyright and disclamer

General implementation guidelines is available under Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0. Unported. Some rights reserved for and the authors. The text of the licence [23]

EU flag LLP EN-01.jpg

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.