Executive summary - Exploring the learner experience of ePortfolios for formative and summative feedback in healthcare education.
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Peacock, S., Murray, S. & Scott, A. (2011) Executive summary - Exploring the learner experience of ePortfolios for formative and summative feedback in healthcare education., , , no. 9, ,
Aim: This study will investigate whether, and in what ways, learners engage with formative and summative feedback delivered through ePortfolios. Detailed, appropriate and timely feedback is of the utmost importance for all learners. Feedback can improve achievement in knowledge acquisition and skills development, promote deep learning, improve motivation, increase reflective skills and help learners prepare for future learning events. Feedback is particularly important for health science students who undertake activities in the clinical environment which are less structured and predictable than those in the academic setting, requiring students to respond by learning in a highly flexible manner. Interaction with members of the multi-professional team and with clients adds another challenging dimension to the learning process. Unfortunately, feedback, a resource-intensive activity, is often under-valued by students and sometimes ignored. For health science students it is critical that feedback, as part of the assessment process, is meaningful and clear, particularly when it relates to clinical practice. The learner who receives no interactive feedback from supervisors and tutors or who fails to engage with feedback when it is offered, is less likely to be able to link theory with practice effectively. Unlike other forms of online assessment and feedback, ePortfolios have the potential to help learners capture, collate and reflect on feedback, assisting them to develop, over time, a more informed sense of their skills and achievements and their requirements for PDP/CPD. Potential barriers to learner engagement with ePortfolios and feedback could include computer anxiety, lack of access and usability, or inappropriate use by tutors. We hope to explore, through focus groups, the benefits and barriers of health science learners receiving feedback through ePortfolios and how this compares with their previous experiences of feedback. The project will develop guidelines and case studies for educators to improve learner engagement with feedback through ePortfolios. Our results will be disseminated through a project blog, the HEA, the Centre for Recording Achievement and JiscInfoNet.