ePortfolios: Enhancing Professional Learning of Vocational Educators
- 476 Downloads
Vocational educators urgently need to keep learning throughout their careers. However, traditional professional development (PD), such as courses and workshops, yields limited transfer to the workplace as it does not align with how professionals naturally learn at work. The study discussed here reports on professional learning of vocational educators within one institute for technical vocational education in Western Canada. Seven instructors and five program chairs from five different programs were interviewed regarding professional learning in their departments, the extent to which this learning was enhanced through the implementation of an ePortfolio approach, and factors that contributed to or inhibited this learning. Our analysis shows that the ePortfolio approach increased some professional learning activities including goalsetting, documenting growth, discussions with peers, and reflection. Cross-case analysis illustrates that professional learning is embedded in professional practices and cannot be understood by examining individual factors separately from departmental environments. Based on our study, we can draw three conclusions: i) the interaction between the cultures in the original trade/profession and the vocational educational department is unique to the vocational education context and should be further explored, ii) the role of program chairs in vocational education is of crucial importance to instructor professional learning, and iii) our findings indicate that instructor professional learning practices are not static and can and should be improved. Further studies into and experiments with comprehensive approaches to supporting professional learning of vocational educators are necessary and long overdue.
KeywordsProfessional learning Electronic portfolios Work-related learning Professional development Vocational education Career and technical education
The analysis and writing stages of this study were partially funded by SSHRC Insight Development Grant number 430-2013-00056. The authors would like to thank the blind reviewers and the editorial team for their helpful comments. We thank the students of the Captioning and Court Reporting program for their help with transcribing interviews, Dong Ye for her help with the data analysis, and Jennifer Semchuk and Kathy Cocchio for their assistance with editing and proofreading.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Research ethics approval was received from NAIT’s Research Ethics Board. This approval certifies that data collection procedures are in accordance with Canada’s Tri-Council Policy Statement for ethical conduct for research involving human subjects.
- Atkinson, D. J., & Bolt, S. (2010). Using teaching observations to reflect upon and improve teaching practice in higher education. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(3), 1–19.Google Scholar
- Baert, H., De Rick, K., & Van Valckenborgh, K. (2006). Towards the conceptualisation of ‘learning climate’. In R. V. de Castro, A. V. Sancho, & P. Guimaraes (Eds.), Adult education: New routes in a new landscape. Braga: University of Minho.Google Scholar
- Billett, S. (2002). Critiquing workplace learning discourses: participation and continuity at work. Studies in the Education of Adults, 34, 56–68.Google Scholar
- Cox, M. D., & Richlin, L. (Eds.). (2004). Building faculty learning communities: New directions for teaching and learning, number 97. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Cross, K. P., & Steadman, M. H. (1996). Classroom research: Implementing the scholarship of teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Day, C. (1999). Developing teachers: The challenges of lifelong learning. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
- Fletcher, F., & Roberts, C. (2008). Managing the chair’s paradoxical role. The Department Chair: A Resource of Academic Administrators, 19(2), 11–12.Google Scholar
- Goliath, C. L. (2009). Diffusion of an e-Portfolio to assist in the self-directed learning of physicians: An exploratory study. Dissertation. University of Akron.Google Scholar
- Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1998). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The landscape of qualitative research: Theories and issues (pp. 195–220). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Hallonen, J. S., & Ellenberg, G. B. (2006). Teaching evaluation follies: Misperception and misbehavior in student evaluation of teachers. In P. Seldin (Ed.), Evaluating faculty performance: A practical guide to assessing teaching, research, and service (pp. 150–165). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Hoekstra, A., & Crocker, J. R. (2015). Design, implementation, and evaluation of an ePortfolio approach to support faculty development in vocational education. Studies in Educational Evaluation. doi: 10.1016/j.stueduc.2015.03.007.
- Hoekstra, A., & Korthagen, F. (2011). Teacher learning in a context of educational change: informal learning versus systematically supported learning. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(1), 76–92.Google Scholar
- Hoekstra, A., Beijaard, D., Brekelmans, J. M. G., & Korthagen, F. A. J. (2007). Experienced teachers’ informal learning from classroom teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(2), 189–206.Google Scholar
- Hoekstra, A., Brekelmans, M., Beijaard, D., & Korthagen, F. (2009a). Experienced teachers’ informal learning: learning activities and changes in behaviour and cognition. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 663–673.Google Scholar
- Hoekstra, A., Korthagen, F., Brekelmans, M., Beijaard, D., & Imants, J. (2009b). Experienced teachers’ informal workplace learning and perceptions of workplace conditions. Journal of Workplace Learning, 21(4), 276–298.Google Scholar
- Hubball, H. T., Pratt, D. D., & Collins, J. B. (2005). Enhancing reflective teaching practices: implications for faculty development. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 35(3), 57–81.Google Scholar
- Lamont, M. (2007). What are the features of e-portfolio implementation that can enhance learning and promote self-regulation? Maastricht: Paper presented at the European Institute for E-Learning (EIfEL) conference.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y. S., Lynham, S. A., & Guba, E. G. (2011). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences, revisited. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (pp. 97–128). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Marsick, V. J., & Watkins, K. E. (1990). Informal and incidental learning in the workplace. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Miles, M. B., & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Murray, J. P. (1997). Successful faculty development and evaluation: The complete teaching portfolio. Washington: Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED405759.Google Scholar
- Pallett, W. (2006). Uses and abuses of student ratings. In P. Seldin (Ed.), Evaluating faculty performance: A practical guide to assessing teaching, research, and service (pp. 50–65). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Stiehl, R., & Lewchuk, L. (2008). The outcomes primer: Reconstructing the college curriculum. Corvallis: The Learning Organization.Google Scholar
- Zeichner, K., & Liu, Y. (2010). A critical analysis of reflection as a goal for teacher education. In N. Lyons (Ed.), Handbook of reflective inquiry. New York: Springer.Google Scholar