Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Design implementation and validation of the e-portfolio: A compr.pdf (28.88 MB)

Design, implementation and validation of the e-portfolio: A comprehensive educational aid

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posted on 2019-11-22, 17:33 authored by Anne Collins

When constructing an educational portfolio, students build their learning from real medical cases, thus reducing the gap between theory and practice.[l] Such portfolios enable learners to act and learn autonomously and assess their own strengths and weaknesses. They also assist with the clarification of learning goals and the monitoring of how these goals are achieved. The provision of regular feedback indicates to students how well they are performing and how they could improve.[2] Portfolios therefore provide a more complete picture of student learning in which students can track the history of their improvements and reflect upon their actions at various time intervals.[3]

The RCSl E-Portfolio offers students a secure, personal online learning space to store coursework, achievements and other documents relevant to their education. Since portfolio building is both demanding and time consuming,face validity is intuitively desirable. Our findings confirmed the EPortfolio is face valid compared to the traditional paper logbook and its benefit is transferable to medical students at all stages of undergraduate education. Its superiority over the paper logbook was particularly evidenced by the fact that E-Portfolio users were statistically more likely to refer to their data in the future than their logbook counterparts.

It has previously been reported in the literature that web-based portfolios have a motivating effect on students, a finding corroborated by our results. Graduate entry students using the E-Portfolio submitted significantly more assignments and recorded more clinical competencies than their logbook counterparts. Furthermore, almost 20% of students In the IC3 group submitted more E-Portfolio assignments than they were required to do.

Assessment is intrinsically important in the implementation of a successful EPortfolio. We correctly hypothesised that E-Portfolio assessment would reflect performance in high-stakes examinations. In addition, students in both the GEP and IC3 groups acknowledged the benefit of feedback received on case assignments. In the sub-intern group, feedback was not provided. As a result, almost half of the sub-interns specifically cited the lack of feedback as a negative feature of the E-Portfolio. The user satisfaction level in this group was significantly lower than in the other groups assessed. We concluded that the lack of assessment contributed to this finding.

On evaluating alternative methods of assessment, our findings indicated that while the E-Portfolio promotes self-assessment, there was no correlation between student assessment and tutor assessment. Standardised feedback on the performance of a suture task, on the other hand, was shown to be both effective and efficient and has the potential to significantly reduce resource implications of formal assessment by tutors.


First Supervisor

Professor Arnold D Hill

Second Supervisor

Professor Alan J Johnson


Submitted for the degree of Master of Surgery (MCh) to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2009.

Published Citation

Collins A. Design, implementaion and validation of the e-portfolio: A comprehensive educational aid. [MCh Thesis]. Dublin: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; 2009.

Degree Name

  • Master of Surgery (MCh)

Date of award


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