Personalising learning with e-portfolios

Lauren Sayer

Lauren Sayer is Head of Teaching and Learning at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne Education Institute. The Institute works in collaboration with young people, families, schools, and education and health professionals to ensure that children and young people continue to engage in learning and remain connected to their school community throughout their health journey. Below, Lauren shares their story about trialling e-portfolios as part of eWorks’ e-learning successes competition.

Engaging learners throughout their health journeys

Students managing a health condition that involves frequent or extended absences from school feel valued as learners, and more confident about their return to school, when they are offered meaningful opportunities to continue to engage with their learning. At The Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute, we work with children and young people in hospital to accommodate different learning profiles, rates of learning and individual passions, through the development of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for every young person that we support.

Why individual learning plans?

Individual Learning Plans describe a set of strategies to address the particular educational needs of students in a range of situations. They can keep the student engaged in their learning and confident about themselves and school. We recently commenced a trial of e-portfolios to further develop our evidence of learning activities that students take part in while learning at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

As a teaching team, we agreed that the use of e-portfolios would be:

  • holistic in its approach to the student’s learning and education,
  • age and development appropriate,
  • flexible and future-oriented,
  • based on student strengths with a focus on potential,
  • able to show evidence from the student, their parents or carers, and schools in relation to achievement of learning goals,
  • a way to document how the student is progressing.

Overall, it was agreed that our e-portfolios should be a useful transition tool when the student moves into a different setting.

So far so good

A trial of the use of e-portfolios for learners was undertaken in 2014 with promising initial outcomes. E-portfolios will now be fully implemented at the RCH in 2015. Currently each teacher in our team has a minimum of four e-portfolio examples with which they have been working with students:

  1. schools,
  2. families gaining feedback on the format,
  3. students gaining feedback on the format,
  4. information and areas for improvement.

We expect that full implementation of e-portfolios will mean that when students leave the hospital they will take with them strong learning evidence of their time with the Education Institute, facilitating a smooth transition into the next stage of their education and lives. We will let you know how we go!

Do you have an e-learning success story to share? Then please tell eWorks.