Friday, 11 March 2016

Create an e –portfolio - my experience Dr. Vaikunthan Rajaratnam

The portfolio is a collection of student’s work that is purposefully performed to provide evidence of the student’s efforts, progress or achievement in a given area or areas. This bundle of evidence must include the student participation in the selection of the contents, the guidelines for selection, and the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection.

So therefore the portfolio is a source of evidence from which judgements of achievement can be made as a form of an assessment of learning. This can be in the form of formative assessment as part of the process of learning and if learning is clearing and provide remedial measures and feedback. It can also be utilised as a summative assessment. It would include achievements and results from authentic tasks, performance assessment conventional tests and even work examples. It is documentation of evidence over an extended period of time and therefore is a much more authentic form of assessing learning.
E portfolios are therefore merely a portfolio that has been compiled electronically and usually on a website.

So in creating my e-portfolio the processes that I had utilised include processes that show me as a learner, growing. I chose the contents and materials that were included in the portfolio that would reflect my learning on the domain of cognition and knowledge, to skill and that of attitude and performance. I ensured there was enough evidence of reflection in the portfolio. As an adult life long learner, my learning occurred both synchronously and asynchronously and I ensured that I was able to collect and collate learning moments easily.

As part of a clinical learning process, I am constantly looking at outcomes of my surgical practice and therefore needed to document clinical outcomes of my patients.
For any new skills that have I have learnt, I attempt to document it through annotations and reflections of how I would apply that in my practice. If it was something that was observed online I would store it as a bookmark data in my portfolio. If I had viewed this in a live performance then I would record it on my mobile device.

For issues on attitude component of learning, in our practice to be one of professionalism , I will include in my portfolio any commendations, appreciated notes from patients, emails of recommendation, feedbacks from lectures, complaints, negative comments by students, this will be collated and stored in the portfolio.

So therefore the challenges facing this task of capturing, collating, storing and retrieving this evidence can be quite phenomenal. As such I chose an electronic format to store the evidence of my lifelong learning portfolio.

The requirements of the general medical Council in the United Kingdom for the revalidation of practising doctors required the maintenance of evidence of good medical practice.  This consists of connecting evidence in 4 domains, which included:-
  • 1.     professionalism,
  • 2.     knowledge skills and performance,
  • 3.     safety and quality, and the
  • 4.     domain of maintaining trusts.

In keeping with this I chose various mediums to maintain my electronic portfolio. I use a Twitter account for work based e-portfolio maintenance and the note keeping software Evernote for the maintenance of my research and learning portfolio.  I use the group function of LinkedIn to enhance my learning to the posting of difficult problems for my community of practitioners from around the world to teach and learn from. This has been a very powerful tool as the group consists of over 900 practitioners from around the world forming a community of practice of hand surgeons. It provides free exchange of ideas and documents to commence feedback and interaction among the participants. This forms a very strong evidence of on-going learning that is occurring in my practice.
In the Twitter account I would create notes on cases seen that pose a diagnostic dilemma with digital images or videos and post them on the Twitter account to show my clinical practice. 

Obviously all confidential data is preserved so as not to breach any data protection issues. These bits of information are also used as learning bites for my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. There can be engagement with others who follow me on Twitter and this provides for learning and teaching. Outcome of my surgical practice are documented through images and videos and posted on the Twitter site.

Evernote has been a very useful tool for my continuous learning process. Its add-in to within the browser allows for me to collect and collate and store learning that is occurred through my web surfing. It also allows for me to record any learning points during attending conferences of taking snapshots of events including what is written on this whiteboard as notes and evidence of my learning. To enhance this process the notes would have added tags and annotations to show reflection and learning. By being present on multiple devices Evernote allows me to be able to collect and collate evidence anywhere and at any time. Its features of syncing to the cloud ensure that all evidence is ubiquitous. I am able to access them on the desktop laptop and my phone and can share this evidence with whoever requires it. I am also able to drag and drop camera uploads from a smart phone to my Evernote folder of all digital imaging that had been utilised as part of my evidence collection for my portfolio.

This portfolio that I maintain is an evidence for my revalidation requirements of the general medical Council United Kingdom, which can be considered as a form of formative assessment of my continuous learning. It shows the process of learning through reflection, through understanding through errors and successes. It shows the journey of learning rather than the endpoint which would be a summative assessment. Assessment is in the form of the knowledge testing through recall like an exit examination, be either multiple choice or assignments, look at an endpoint rather than the whole process of learning. Portfolio allows for formative assessment and over an extended period of time showing evidence of deep learning and of a behaviour of self-directed   and lifelong learning.

So the portfolio not only documents achievement but also self-evaluation and also analyses a learning process through analysis of the reflections that are maintained. It also collects evidence when failure has occurred and sees whether learning has occurred in those instances. It assesses the role of metacognition of learning by showing how, when, who, where and why, one has learnt. It would be difficult to establish portfolios as a summative assessment as it would be expensive in terms of time and resource management and there may be issues of reliability in terms of grading and standards. However this can be overcome by ensuring assessors have exemplar to work with and comprehensive and robust rubrics for grading.

Keeping this portfolio has been assisted by having a clear purpose of this. In my case this portfolio is   part of the process of revalidation. So the evidence that is collected is clear and well defined. The time required to maintain this portfolio has been made easy by the use of electronic tools like Evernote, LinkedIn and Twitter and the use of ubiquitous devices. I’ve been assisted by the clearly defined domains required by the general medical Council in helping me choose the content that is needed to maintain my portfolio. The good medical practice guidelines that were issued by the general medical Council in 2013 establish clear performance indicators that are required to be met in the evidence.

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