ePortfolios & Employment

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have acted as a change agent in the provision of education, pushing the boundaries of innovation in teaching and learning.  These technologies have contributed to the provision of a full range of pedagogical experiences for all learners, transformed by new platforms of delivery and accessibility.

 

Electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) are one such example of how this transformation is taking shape.  ePortfolios are a mechanism for individuals to assemble and showcase artifacts that provide evidence of skills acquired through educational and extra-curricular activities, such as life experience and work-integrated learning.  They are used by colleges, universities, and governmental agencies to facilitate lifelong and life-wide learning, capturing assessment, accomplishments, and accountabilities.  They also provide individuals with opportunities to manage self-directed learning for personal and professional growth, helping with self-promotion and marketing to achieve meaningful employment.  

Professional and employment ePortfolios can be customized for careers, and over the length of careers. The career ePortfolio is a showcase of digitized artefacts documenting the diverse items individuals wish to display to enhance opportunities for employment, and is dedicated to highlighting the individual’s achievements, skills, relevant work samples, professional development and accomplishments. 

The research I conducted for my doctoral dissertation identified the practical use and benefits of ePortfolios, specifically for employment purposes. My primary research question sought to identify the uses and benefits of ePortfolios for employment purposes among undergraduate and continuing education students.  I also sought to identify the factors which influence students beliefs that ePortfolios may/may not enhance their employment opportunities. Given the variety of influences and options that learners and workers have to improve and showcase their skills, knowledge and experience, what is the best method or tool individuals should use to showcase their skills, competencies and knowledge?  Can ePortfolios become the new replacement for the resume and curriculum vitae? 

Through a mixed methods approach using a convergent parallel design, I performed detailed analysis which identifies common patterns or distinct contradictions within the results.  Students and employees are represented in the descriptive design through a Web-based survey and semi-structured interviews, which highlight the scale, scope, awareness and use of ePortfolios.  With thematic analysis techniques, I utilize the participant interviews to describe, through axial coding techniques, the ways in which communities of users make use of ePortfolios for employment, the goals they expect to achieve, and the outcomes they have experienced. 

See my full thesis, The Practical Uses and Benefits of ePortfolios:    

Virtual Reality & Simulation in the Workplace

The fusion of virtual reality (VR) technology and human creativity into functional applications that enhance the delivery of workplace training/education programs may ultimately increase business productivity with less training time required.

 

My capstone project was based on my ideologies relating to the use of VR and simulation technologies in the workplace.  My goal was  to examine and explore the following objectives:

  • What are the demographics and motivating drivers of the recipients, deliverers, and enablers of VR & simulation concepts and technologies?

  • How prevalent are VR & simulation technologies in corporate/adult education and business productivity applications?

  • What are the future applications of VR & simulation concepts and technologies within the corporate/adult educational & business environments?

 

Beginning with a literature review, I uncovered the creative and motivational revelations associated with the deployment and application of these new technologies in the workplace.  Technology integration into the educational domain and identification of correlations between creativity and technology use was also highlighted.  The prevalence of VR and simulation technologies identifies two distinct VR environments (Distributed and Immersive), as well as different types of VR participants and the important characteristics required of the VR environment for successful application and functionality to occur.  Current and future applications of VR and simulation in the workplace are identified through the use of current technologies and industry specific examples of deployment. 

 

My project also entailed qualitative research interviews with current industry and research practitioners within this domain.  These detailed interviews produced observations of comparison and contrast between the literature study and the qualitative subject/participant study, which ultimately develops into concluding observations and recommendations based upon the data comparison and evaluation. 

 

For the purposes of my study, VR/simulation is/was defined as the imitation of real phenomenon using advanced computer hardware/software and other immersive technologies to create realistic environments or models for the purpose of skill training and/or business productivity improvement.

Robert Wensveen

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