Robin Good in his latest article, “Electronic Portfolios: What Are They?” summarizes quite well what webfolios for learning are all about. Stephen Downes the Grandmaster of Reflection best summarizes how e-portfolios differ from personal content management systems:
“If your view of portfolios is just something akin to a content management system, don’t bother. But if it’s the student’s personal and continuing presence in an online community of discourse, then you are on to something.”
What best provides such a webfolio and online presence nowadays is blogs. Lately I have provided speeches on the fact that blogs are probably the best tools available for personal learning and knowledge work, as it provides a socially connected place for reflection on action.
Here in Finland I see some discussions about electronic portfolios and some initiatives to build such tools. For all the good work out there I have to say, best webfolio tools are already here: the unification of personal weblog, wiki and social networking (using for example, FOAF). My friends at Elgg build such a webfolio system and they call it “learning landscape” (PDF document, explains the relationship of blogs with e-portfolios).
Here is a concept map of how they vision an Elgg-based learning landscape to look like:
It’s a huge mashup (excellent Zdnet video explaining what’s that buzzword), so it’s totally Web 2.0 compatible. It’s not limited to tools it provides like many other e-portfolio applications but rather, operates inside your online presence. It’s evolving all the time and looks a lot better than 6 months ago. Give it a shot.
In other news, I added email subscriptions and a tag cloud in my blogs sidebar. Those functionalities are mashups of external services providing added functionality to my blog software. There is a huge new market opening up for such small micro-webservices.