Investigating ePortfolios from Teacher Training to the Workplace

Jan, Dominique-Alain (2018). Investigating ePortfolios from Teacher Training to the Workplace. EdD thesis The Open University.



This study investigates the transfer of ePortfolio practice from teacher training to the workplace, drawing on three case studies of secondary school teachers from different disciplines (IT, science, maths and foreign languages) who built their ePortfolios during pre-service training. It examines why teachers continue or cease ePortfolio practice, their trainers’ and supervisors’ perceptions of ePortfolio transfer, and the perceived usefulness of continuing ePortfolio practice at work. It also explores the hypothesis that ePortfolio practices, as a process, may be more subject to transfer than ePortfolios themselves, and compares results to other interviews with in-service teachers made during the preparation of this study and to the latest research on ePortfolio practice in teacher training.

The study adopts a practical method of enquiry, based on artefacts produced by teachers. The theoretical framework is based on Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to analyse external and internal causes that may impact on transfer of ePortfolio practice. The main research method was face to face and computer mediated semi-structured interviews, together with post-interview questionnaires and analysis of teachers’ ePortfolio artefacts.

The findings reveal that teachers’ ePortfolio practice rapidly fades after they begin work, or in many cases is never transferred. Analysis shows that the main reason for this is the lack of perceived usefulness of the ePortfolio at the workplace, together with the absence of communities of practice within schools where participants were working: social or geographical variables such as provenance, sex or age do not appear to play a role.

The conclusion suggests separating the teaching of the use of ePortfolio management systems from the teaching of ePortfolio practices and offers a model for studying the latter which pays particular attention to the impact of the tensions between different elements which CHAT identifies.

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