E-Portfolios – Fostering Systematic Reflection in Social Work Education

  • Patricia Arnold
  • Swapna Kumar
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8524)


Learning technologies in higher education open up new possibilities for academic professional development due to the flexibility in time and place they offer. For professional students it is important to develop a critical distance to their daily practice and a capacity for reflection. E-portfolio technology is considered to be suitable to help to develop such a reflective critical stance. In this paper we argue that in order for e-portfolios to foster reflection, a robust educational design with careful “scaffolding” is needed. We present a design in social work education that was meant to gradually develop students’ ability to reflect, while using a mixture of technologies. With three exemplary e-portfolios, we re-construct how students reflected on their professional trajectories, how they used the technology and how this was fostered by the educational design. A critical discussion leads to recommendations for using e-portfolio technology for fostering reflection in other settings.


e-portfolios learning technologies professional students social work education 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Arnold
    • 1
  • Swapna Kumar
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Applied Social SciencesMunich University of Applied SciencesGermany
  2. 2.School of Teaching and LearningUniversity of FloridaUSA

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