ePortfolios – Used in Business?

The readings for class discussed ePortfolios – the digital review of your skills by showing examples – at length. But I can’t help wondering if busnesses are making use of this tool?

I can see why colleges would embrace ePortfolios. What a perfect way to show if a student asking for life experience credit on a particular course had actually earned the credit! A good ePortfolio could show the student utilizing the skills taught in the class.

As a former business manager in the 1980’s and 1990’s I saw the U.S. Army do something similar for the people that were leaving their ranks. Everyone left with a paper portfolio, filled with certificates earned, outlines of classes taken and lessons taught, and for those duties whose connections to a civilian job were not obvious, they explicitly explained it to you in words you could understand! πŸ˜‰

Don’t mistake my attempt at humor – these were powerful and effective tools, and I often thought, ‘Every job seeker should have something like this.’

So I am very interested in seeing ePortfolios have a great reach into the business world. But I am curious if they do?

And, I realized the real trick to ePortfolios is to ORGANIZE your thoughts and your materials. (Otherwise it is simply a lot of pages of nothing important to the reader.) Then the hard work of CREATING the ePortfolio, which does take some effort. Finally, they need used, which might also mean, PROMOTING your ePortfolio.

I am hoping however that ePortfolios will provide an important tool for both the job seeker, and the business HR manager.

But it cannot do anything for anyone if they are not embraced outside the educational community.

What have your experiences been with ePortfoilios?

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15 responses to “ePortfolios – Used in Business?

  1. Russ, this is a really interesting supposition. In one sense, it seems like LinkedIn with files and more of a cv-support, than just a list of accomplishments. Do you have any of your works available on yours?

    BTW, I just Tweeted about this – http://twitter.com/JeffreyKeefer/status/1281535815

  2. I think that a distributed system of ePortfolio accredication-by-trust may work well in industry. We already put trust in the people who are cited as referees, but if we had a way of expressing the web of trust – like LinkedIn provides, as Jeffrey suggests – which supports the claims an ePortfolio makes it would make it easier to mainstream.
    I think using Henry Story’s FOAF+SSL would be a great way of doing this (http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/entry/foaf_ssl_creating_a_global).

    As for my experience – employers tell educational institutions they want to see portfolios (paper or e) but applicants for jobs very often report back that the companies showed no interest in seeing the portfolios.
    We did have to produce a paper based on for our CPD at my old company – in theory – but it was never used for anything.

    • Thanks Pat. On your comment, [Pat said] “As for my experience – employers tell educational institutions they want to see portfolios (paper or e) but applicants for jobs very often report back” – I can only imagine that is very true. During my time in business world, I frequently saw examples of a request for ‘more’ of any kind of information – only to see it ignored or lightly used at best.

      Part of my research now, however, is to contact HR people, and see if they now are using this type of info. I suspect as information systems become more integrated, and as the HR users are increasingly younger and more tech-savvy, there is a greater chance that an ePortfolio could be a welcomed tool in business.

  3. Mine is at http://www.epsilen.com/rgifford

    I have a number of items in the QuickLinks, which includes audio interviews, overview PowerPoints of other classes, etc.

    The SHOWCASE, at the VERY BOTTOM, also includes a SMALL sample of one of the modules from a CD course.

    And, it has the quick links to a couple radio interviews, etc.

    A few years ago, before the ePortfolio thing, I used a CD-ROM together with a menu, that put all these types of things, plus some data bases I’d created in one spot. And the resume, and the rest.

  4. Russ, you may want to check out a discussion that is occurring with a colleague, Sarah Stewart, about eportfolios for health professionals –
    http://sarah-stewart.blogspot.com/2009/02/eportfolios-for-health-professionals.html

    I think this may be similar enough that you may have some thoughts . . .

    Have you considered tracking these various blog posts and websites with an RSS feed reader, such as FeedDemon or Google Reader?

  5. Ms. Stewart has certainly taken the concept of elearning/Web 2.0/Blogs to heart. And it appears she is pushing ePortfolios to the next level! Fascinating reading, and her use of a wiki to create an ‘open’ ePortfolio is a huge step!

    http://sarahstewart-eportfolio.wikispaces.com/

  6. You may want to share your thoughts with Sarah on her site. She is doing a very interesting life project at the moment.

  7. Hello chaps, see you’ve been talking about me πŸ™‚

    I am just woindering if I need two eportoflios – one for my personal learning & one for presentation. I am wondering if the one I have in wikispaces is too ‘heavy’ for future employers – what do you think?

    • Thanks for the comment Sarah!
      Re: two ePortfolios – one of the things I think that ePortfolio’s SHOULD do is allow the viewer or the owner to set ‘filters’ so users could see ‘themed’ content. If we, the users, put all the important things in the ePortfolio, and we can’t let the user determine the thread to see the related items, I think the viewer becomes overwhelmed with the material.

      I saw what you were mentioning when I first browsed your site. In your case, though, all the items are very appropriate, so which items would you cut?

      IMHO, of course.

  8. This HR person sent this comment ‘over the transom’ so to speak:
    [HR Professional said] “I did the survey and am very interested in the eportfolio..sounds like something that could help us in recruiting! “

  9. I wonder what evidence or research there is to support how this is being used in (non-higher education) organizations.

    For that part, I wonder how much “future employers” will look at these tools?

  10. I am really interested in your work because I have seen little reference to ePortfolios outside education – please keep in touch.

    What has made me question the presentation of my portfolio is that I sent an ad hock letter to a potential employer, & gave her link to ePortfolio. She wrote back that she wanted to see my CV. This made me look at my ePortfolio with fresh eyes. I don’t see how a potential employer of me would have time to wade though all my stuff. So, I’m not sure how I would filter it or otherwise. Any suggestions?

  11. Well, far be it from me to suggest to you. But I am laying out a planned course for organizing, creating, and promoting your ePortfolio….

  12. I would be very interested to hear more about your course. In the meantime, here is my response to your post: http://sarah-stewart.blogspot.com/2009/03/job-hunting-with-eportfolio.html

  13. Pingback: Silence and Voice Β» Blog Archive » E-Portfolios in iJET

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