Building Professional Capabilities: ePortfolios as Developmental Ecosystems

  • John Taylor
  • Jennifer Rowley


In this final chapter we explore the concept of the portfolio ‘ecosystem’ in relation to student professional identity development. Evidence of how creating an electronic portfolio contributes to a complex relationship with students’ learning and development is provided through students’ comments. In addition, we propose a model that indicates a building of desirable graduate capabilities through students’ experience of developing their ePortfolio incrementally throughout their degree – thus supporting students’ learning and identity development. Within the context of the broader teaching and learning literature, the chapter draws together the previous 11 chapters into a conceptual theoretical framework across relevant fields to reflect aspects of portfolio use in Higher Education. This concluding chapter critically assesses the students’ voice in the development of a professional identity and draws on recent data from students engaging in creative ePortfolio development across disciplines. We propose that educator engagement with ePortfolio development can help refine our understanding of some of the fundamental commitments and dynamics of learning. The chapter concludes by highlighting a number of learning pathways that may enhance the sense of self-efficacy for Higher Education students and life-long learners.


Professional Identity Identity Development Creative Writing Music Education Electronic Portfolio 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bennett, D., Rowley, J., Dunbar-Hall, P., Hitchcock, M., & Blom, D. (2016). Electronic portfolios and learner identity: An ePortfolio case study in music and writing. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 1–18. doi: 10.1080/0309877X.2014.895306
  2. Conkling, S. (2002). The course portfolio: Scholarship to improve teaching and learning. Music Education International, 1, 122–131.Google Scholar
  3. Dunbar-Hall, P., Rowley, J., Brooks, W., Cotton, H., & Lill, A. (2015). ePortfolios in music and other performing arts education: History through a critique of literature. Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, XXXVI(2), 139–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hartnell-Young, E. (2006). EPortfolios for knowledge and learning. In A. Kaufman & C. Kaufman (Eds.), Handbook of research on ePortfolios (pp. 124–133). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. McAlpine, M. (2005). E-Portfolios and digital identity: Some issues for discussion. E-Learning, 2(4), 378–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. McIlveen, P., Brooks, S., Lichtenberg, A., Smith, M., Torjul, P., & Tyler, J. (2011). Perceptions of career development learning and work-integrated learning in Australian higher education. Australian Journal of Career Development, 20(1), 32–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Moore, J. F. (1996). The death of competition: Leadership and strategy in the age of business ecosystems (1st ed.). New York: Harper Business.Google Scholar
  8. Oliver, B. (2013). Graduate attributes as a focus for institution-wide curriculum renewal: Innovations and challenges. Higher Education Research and Development, 32(3), 450–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Procter, C. T., & Whatley, J. E. (2011). Using e-portfolios to support student work placements. Retrieved from
  10. Reimers-Hild, C. I. (2011). The “High 5” elevator pitch. Retrieved from
  11. Rowley, J. (2011). Technology, innovation and student learning: ePortfolios for music education. In C. Nygaard, N. Courtney, & C. Holtham (Eds.), Beyond transmission: Innovations in university teaching (pp. 45–62). Faringdon, UK: Libri Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Rowley, J., & Dunbar-Hall, P. (2012). Curriculum mapping and ePortfolios: Embedding a new technology in music teacher preparation. Australian Journal of Music Education, 1, 22–31.Google Scholar
  13. Rowley, J., & Munday, J. (2014). A “sense of self” through reflective thinking in ePortfolios. International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Education, 1(7), 78–85.Google Scholar
  14. Stanford University. (2012). Folio thinking and ePortfolios at Stanford. Retrieved from
  15. Stefani, L., Mason, R., & Pegler, C. (2007). The educational potential of e-portfolios: Supporting personal development and reflective learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Taylor, J., Dunbar-Hall, P., & Rowley, J. (2012). The e-Portfolio continuum: Discovering variables for e-portfolio adoption within music education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(8), 1362–1381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tzeng, J. Y. (2011). Perceived values and prospective users’ acceptance of prospective technology: The case of a career eportfolio system. Computers & Education, 56(1), 157–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Williams, B. T. (2007). I’m ready for my close-up now: Electronic portfolios and how we read identity. Literacy & Identity, 50(6), 500–504.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney Conservatorium of MusicThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations