If Netflix lets us decide our own TV schedule, and iTunes lets us mix and match entire discographies depending on our mood, then how long till education becomes user-centric, too? Well, art might always be ahead of its time, but schooling pretty much remains at a century’s lag. Not to mention that a single department at a university is its own bureaucracy inside of the university bureaucracy inside of the state bureaucracy inside of the federal bureaucracy. Cross-network and cross-record label content sharing may have initially presented its own can of worms, but standardizing any aspect of education proves herculean in the least.

One of the major complications within our national transition toward student-centered learning is student-centered learning itself. The concept requires myriad strategies for both engaging individual learners while also allowing those learners to co-determine their educational journeys, which doesn’t readily lend itself to universal criteria. But maybe that’s the grander problem in this context–the quest for universal outcomes. Maybe we should instead focus on universal frameworks for achieving desirable outcomes. And, in that regard, ePortfolios are the answer.

What are ePortfolios?

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) defines ePortfolios as simply “digital repositories of student work.” But the AAC&U’s push for nationwide adoption of ePortfolios centers around the concept’s amenable functionality. ePortfolios:

  • Collect evidence of student learning.
  • Facilitate student reflection upon and engagement with their own learning.
  • Provide both a transparent and portable medium for showcasing the broad range of complex ways students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities.


How widespread is ePortfolio usage?

According to a study by AAC&U, as of 2015:

  • “85% of AAC&U member institutions report that they have a common set of intended learning outcomes for all undergraduate students.
  • “70% of institutions are tracking students’ achievement of these learning outcomes.
  • 64% of AAC&U member institutions say they use electronic portfolios for at least some students and programs, including 7% that require them for all students and 57% who use them for some students.
  • An additional 23% of member institutions currently say they are exploring the feasibility of using e-portfolios.”

Which disciplines are especially suited for ePortfolios?

The more complex the schooling process, the more it requires comprehensive ePortfolio software. Nowhere is that truer than in healthcare schooling. And, per a study of clinical nursing education in Denmark, there’s a demonstrated correlation between preferred learning styles and ePortfolio usage. This research also suggests that ePortfolios best accommodate the development of self-reflection so critical to the nursing practice. But the benefits of ePortfolios extend far beyond the individual student.

As heavily regulated as the healthcare market is, its educational counterpart introduces an additional complexity via the accreditation process. Because accreditation is tiered between national and state standards, and accreditation statuses exist at the university, departmental, and program levels, any shift in accreditation policy can become a serious can of worms. Tracking clinical hours and proficiency alone requires a software that is both agile and communicable across diverse health care schooling systems, which themselves have yet to adopt a consistent system for assessing course and curriculum outcomes.

The answer?

CB Bridges, CastleBranch’s flagship product, is a modular SAAS service that incorporates all the steps needed to place, track, collect and evaluate students, while providing the idiosyncrasies that general ePortfolio software has yet to integrate. With 20 years of listening to its customers, CastleBranch understands that an ePortfolio is comprised of many data points and steps along the clinical path, all of which is typically collected by multiple tools. By integrating all these tools into a single offering, students can establish a relevant, up-to-date, verifiable ePortfolio that’s not only valuable for their schools, but also their future employers.

If your institution is still searching for solutions that accommodate the complexities and unpredictability of the healthcare sector, contact CastleBranch today.


This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesBill DiNome and Beth Roddy with lead writer Zach Cioffi.

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