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E-portfolio for Lifelong Learning


Abstract and Figures

This paper presents the organization used in the University of South Brittany to help students to define and manage their personal lifelong project. It is based on an e-portfolio that records personal information. This e-portfolio will follow the person throughout his or her career, as the university will keep it available after the end of the userpsilas university studies. Along with the e-portfolio, a set of activities based on the university curriculum is developed to help the student to build his or her first project, and to learn to manage it.
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Eportfolio for lifelong learning
Laurence Perennes
Information & Orientation Center Service
Université Bretagne-Sud
Dominique Duhaut
Université Bretagne-Sud
Abstract— This paper presents the organization used in the
University of South Bretagne to help students to define and
manage their personal lifelong project. It is based on an
eportfolio that records personal information. The eporfolio will
follow the person all his life because the university will keep it
available after the end of study in the university. Coming with
the eportfolio a set of activities along the university curriculum
is developed to help the student to build his first project and
learn how to manage it.
Keywords-component; eportfolio; longlife learning; basic
skills, key competencies;
I. I
Has mentioned in [1]: “… to achieve more and better
jobs depend on ensuring that all citizens acquire key
competences and update their skills throughout their lives”.
It is then necessary to achieve lifelong strategies where
is needed institutional commitment, coordination and
partnership with all relevant stakeholders. From the higher
education point of view it is then necessary to develop tools
and activities to help a student to define his professional
personal project and to learn how to manage it during his
In this paper we present the tool and the method
developed in the Université Bretagne-Sud, in France, to
perform this goal. The basic tool is an eportfolio to record all
the results of the different activities made during the
professional project construction and evolution. The method
is based on a set of related activities, on one hand, to acquire
knowledge on ourselves and on our environment, and on
another hand, to acquire the skills and key competencies
needed to achieve the professional project.
The basic tool is the eportfolio where the original part is
it is present on the virtual learning environment.
This environment will still be available for
student after he has leaved the university to
continue to manage his project during all his life
because we will keep his account alive.
the management of the portfolio is done using
the email
The part II presents the basic structure of the eportfolio.
It is composed by 4 main sections and in each section is
composed by a set of standard criteria. The eportfolio is a
structure to record information. The structure is the same for
all students at the beginning. But, due to the difference
between people, the information recorded will depend on
choices of the student. The student can modify the structure
of the eportfolio by adding or deleting criteria. So the
description presented in this part is to be understood as a
generic structure.
The part III presents the management of the eportfolio. It
shows in a first section how is used the email to manage the
information in the portfolio and in a second section how to
organize this management
The part IV introduces the accompanying modules
proposed to the student in the curriculum to build his project.
Modules are developed to follow the design of the project
with a tempo of one module per semester, 10 modules for a 5
year degree course.
The part V presents briefly the activities proposed to
student. Activities have a different target then the modules.
Modules are designed to build and structure the professional
project of the students, while activities are proposed to help
the students to acquire or to train skills and competencies.
The activities are optional.
Finally some conclusions and perspectives will be given .
The eportfolio is organized in 4 main sections : internal
resources, external resources, my project and my
A marginal fifth section is “links” to keep information on
several sources.
A. Internal ressources section
In this section is memorized all the basic information on
the person. In figure 1 is presented a screen copy of this
section. On the left are define all the criteria taken into
account in this section.
This internal resources section is organized around 3
general ideas of items to study: me, my personality and my
It is decomposed in 9 standard criteria defined has
My Identity gives the administrative
information : name, date of birth …
My Knowledge gives the list of validate
knowledge, reward, certificates…
hal-00515243, version 1 - 6 Sep 2010
Author manuscript, published in "International Conference on Education Technology and Computer ICETC 2009, Singapore
Who am I gives what I like: be alone or in
group, indoor or outdoor, how I search
information … For people passing the MBTI [2]
personality test, results on the personality is
recorded here.
My History how I decided to do what I have
done. What is my autonomy in my past
My Motivations what is the engine for me? To
build this we use several classical constructions
like the Maslow hierarchy [3] for instance
My Values in the figure 1 is presented a simple
synthesis of this item
My Expectations what I am waiting from the
life. This is of course connected to he previous
criteria but we agree to have redundancy in the
different part of the eportfolio because an
human cannot fit in boxes
My Experiences here is all the information
about what makes me different for the others
and what my experiences in group activities are.
For instance we can have : sport activity, music,
membership of an organization …
My Jobs gives the list of all professional
activities done by the student.
This first section is the most private one, all information
stored here is only accessible by the student via his virtual
learning environment VLE. The confidentiality is then
guaranty by the VLE. The particular point is that our
university will keep the VLE alive even after the end of the
university course. This allows people to continue to access to
the portfolio for a lifelong project.
B. External Ressources section
In this section is memorized the result of the different
activities made by the student to discover the working world.
It decomposed in 8 standard criteria:
Documentary research gives a link on general
presentation of the working world. Jobs, sector
are defined.
Exhibition & forums it a memo of all the
different events around the working society that the
student visited
Conferences is an abstract written by the student
on some conferences organized in the university
by professionals to present their activity, their
company …
Enterprise visits a synthesis of all visited
Meetings with professionals reports on round table
or face to face discussion
Professional network is an entry point to build the
network of the student. It memorizes the name of
the company, the contact, the activity … has many
time as possible
Educational background is used to express what
type of knowledge is required to work in a specific
Complementary skills more then the knowledge
for some jobs some specific skills and
competencies required are listed here.
C. My project section
In this third part is defined all the criteria to identify and
manage a project. Of course all this section will be strongly
connected to the section internal resources.
Skill Identification what are my specific skills.
What evaluation can I give on each skill? We use
here a 4 levels scale: notion (I know what it is but I
use it at an initial state), application (I can use it
fairly), master (I am very good in), expert (I can
train someone on).
Skill employability Do I know how to use my
skills? Competencies is then the word used. On this
read [4]
Skill transfer Can I use my skills in another
situation, for other purpose?
Skill evolution What should I work? What is weak
in my person?
Project construction is a synthesis of what I am,
what I want and what are the steps to the target
Project evolution how can I manage the future to
reach my goal?
D. My comunication section
In this part we memorize all the information that the
student wants to use to exchange information on him self
with the environment:
Curriculum vitae the student writes a set of CV
depending on the target. We ask him to adopt the
recommendations of the EC [5].
Motivation letter again a set of letters written for
different targeted companies
Job interview here is memorized the result of the
evaluation of the simulations (see §IV)
Mobilize a network learn to use your network to
find the key person that may have the requested
Speak in front of a group coming from modules
(§IV) and activity (§V) the key points to remember
to be well-to-do
Animation of a group idem
Driving a meeting idem
E. Links
The place of the portfolio is used to keep links on
relevant information for the personal project. It is also in this
section that we can find the list of authorized person (see
section III)
hal-00515243, version 1 - 6 Sep 2010
A. The mail tool to manage the eportfolio
This part describes the method used to manage the
portfolio. The originality of our approach is that all the
management of the portfolio is done through the use of the
email. For instance if the owner, Joe Martin, wants to add
and information (for instance a text file) in the section “my
experiences” of the “internal resources” criteria, he will send
a mail as follow :
Subject: internal resources
Attach: PersonalFile.txt
Content: ADD my experiences
When the eportfolio manager receives this mail it does
the following:
- Checking if the sender ( is
allowed to write something in the Joe.Martin’s
- Checking the attach file (here PersonalFile.txt)
- Interpreting the content of the mail. Here
“ADD” is the instruction of the content of the
mail, it means that the attached file
“PersonalFile.txt” must be added in the section
“internal resources” criteria “my experiences”
The content of the mail gives the instruction to be
executed in the portfolio. The attach file expresses what
information must be treated. The subject defines the section
in which the information must be put. To keep the eportfolio
simple the number of instruction is limited.
B. Levels of management of the eportfolio
We can distinguish 3 kinds of portfolio management: the
information management, the criteria management, the
authorized person management
information management allow the user to
add, move, delete information in the portfolio
has described in the previous example. There is
also a set of specific instruction to organize the
presentation of the information in the eportfolio.
For instance it can be included in the text or
having a link on.
criteria management gives a set of instruction
to change the structure of each section of the
portfolio. For instance we can add, remove,
change place some criteria (see figure 1). This is
important to allow someone to use his portfolio
in a longlife project. We cannot determine what
kind of criteria someone will need to add based
on his experience of life. Consequently the list
of criteria describes in the previous section is
the standard one at the construction of the
portfolio. But the student can rapidly add or
suppress some criteria and build a personalized
authorized person management is a list of
authorized people to send information to the
eportfolio. This list is managed by the owner of
the portfolio. He is the only one that can accept
someone to write in a specific section of the
eportfolio. This protection is necessary to
guaranty the protection of the data. People
writing in the eportfolio can be : a teacher
during the scholarship, a employer during the
working life or a self evaluation in line test (see
part IV)
The modules are teaching activities that are included in
the curriculum. Because the French degree course is
organized on a 3 or 5 years organization, the modules are
constructed on the same schedule. The first 3 years are the
basics activities for a student to define the project and
acquire the basic rules to manage it.
All the modules contribute to fill the eportfolio. Each
module has duration of around 20 hours and corresponds to
one semester roughly 2 hour/week. We developed 6 modules
to cover the 3 first years of the university degree.
The modules are chaired: by a teacher, a professional
from a company or a specialist in people orientation (for
instance an education psychologist). Some activities are
made by inline test developed in the university.
The modules are organized as following:
S1: Knowledge of ourselves, itinerary. This entry point
will include : in a first part the presentation of the different
services, inside or outside the university, that the student will
use to construct his project, and in a second part a first search
on his past, the reasons why he his here will be performed.
S2: Notion of competency. This presents what is proper
to people and not acquired by the education system. Not only
formal knowledge but also how to live in group, how to
interact with people, personal skills are reviewed
S3: Job discovery. To formalize the expected job of the
student this module enforces the student to study the job and
to meet someone doing this job for a discussion. During the
meeting the student fills a report which is recorded in the
S4: Link job and competency. Here we look with the
student the requested competencies needed by some targeted
job. These competencies are stated in knowledge, skills,
abilities, competencies. Here a part of the module is used to
determine if the actual formation is relevant with the goal, if
the student needs to train his personal skills to increase his
capabilities. Here also, he writes his first CV.
S5: Finalise the project. It is the third year so it is time
to prepare the student to enter in the working life. Here we
look for a real company to target to find the expected job.
Methods to search company, understand their business and
focus the job are used.
S6: Setting up strategy. The final CV targeted for the
job with the motivation letter is written. Simulations of
interview are done to train the student. A point on his project
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is done to look how it has evolved during the 3 years and an
assessment of competencies is realized.
During the following 2 years, modules are used to
improve the project and acquire the skills needed at an
engineer level
S7: Force and weakness of the project. A confrontation
between the project and his personal situation is done. This
step is used to help the student to have an external look on
his project and to bring some good judgement.
S8: Work market. A national and international point on
the economical and political situation is performed.
Information on how to build a company is done and
simulation is realised.
S9: Team management. At this level the student will
often have to take a place of manager in a team. He is trained
to conflict detection, avoidance. Work organisation is also
S10: Network. In this final stage the same operation that
the one in S6 are performed again but a special interest in
given to the importance of the network: private, business and
administrative. How to build a network, to keep it alive.
V. O
Based on the EU report [6,7] we can ask : what
competencies do we need for a successful life and a well-
functioning society?.
A set of basic skills is defined by the EC [8] as follow:
Numeracy and literacy (foundation skills)
Basic competencies in mathematics, science and
Foreign languages
ICT skills and use of technology
Learning to learn
Social skills
General Culture
The university cannot provide solution to all of these
items but our idea is that number of them can be improved
by proposing to the students some optional activities.
Let’s have a look to some proposed activities.
Numeracy and literacy are supposed established. But
with the university library, we organize activities such
“reading a report in limited time” to train quick reading.
A set of conferences made by student coming from other
countries is performed. The students prepare a conference in
a foreign language, on something that they think interesting
in their country. This fixes the items: foreign languages,
social skills, general culture.
The originality of activities is that they are independent
of the curriculum and they mix together students of different
domains and different years.
To the 8 basic skills we add some specific
complementary activities to acquire a critical mind. It is
today very important with the omnipresent of information
coming from a lot of different sources TV, internet to by
very careful in the appropriateness of the information. We try
to examine all information with the questions: who is behind,
what is reported, how it is reported, can I cross this
information …
We proposed in this paper the description of the
organization adopted in the Université Bretagne-Sud to
prepare the students to build their own professional project
and to learn how to manage it in a lifelong context.
The key point is the eportfolio connected to a set of
modules to initiate the definition of the project.
The original approach to this eportfolio is to integrate it
into the virtual learning environment of the student to
guaranty the confidentiality of the information and to use the
email to manage this portfolio. The advantage is then that the
management does not need to learn a specific new tools, we
assume that all students use email, and it is simply possible
to collaborate to feed the eportofio via a list of authorised
person. Specific inline tests will also feed the eportfolio.
The eportfolio source code will be disclosed during the
year 2009. The idea here is to share this tool with other
universities for a mutual benefit.
A second path is the connection of the eportfolio with
high school. Actually high school is developing a set of
activities for awareness to the professional project but there
is a disconnection when the student enters in the university.
We began the discussion at the level of the Bretagne
education office to use the same eportfolio support to build a
continuum from high school to university and after in a
lifelong project.
[1] Concil of european union, Delivering lifelong learning for
knowledge, creativity and innovation, 5723/08, january 2008
[2] MBTI Briggs-Meyer Isabel & MacCaulley Mary, Manual: a guide to
the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,
Consulting Psychologists Press, 1985.
[3] A Theory of Human Motivation A. H. Maslow (1943) Originally
Published in Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
[4] Knowledge Tree e-Journal of Flexible Learning in Vocational
Education and Training ISSN:1448-2673, 2007
[6] Key competencies for a successful life and a well-functioning society
(2003) D.S. Rychen and L.H. Salganik (eds.)
[7] PISA 2006 Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World, ISBN:
hal-00515243, version 1 - 6 Sep 2010
[8] Official Journal of the European Communities, Detailed work
programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and
training systems in Europe C 142/1, 11.6.2002
Figure 1. Copy of the UBS Portfolio.
hal-00515243, version 1 - 6 Sep 2010
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Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and training systems in Europe C 142/1, 11
Official Journal of the European Communities, Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and training systems in Europe C 142/1, 11.6.2002