UKCLE closed on 31 July 2011. This is an archive site.

Home » Resources » Personal development planning » Portfolio-based learning and assessment » What is a portfolio and what is portfolio-based learning?

What is a portfolio and what is portfolio-based learning?

1. What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of evidence that represents achievement and learning within a module/course or programme of study.

2. What is portfolio-based learning?

Portfolios require both the gathering and presentation of evidence and an element of critical reflection or commentary. This may either be integrated into elements of the portfolio, or be a separate element in its own right, in which the student "draws the evidence together into a coherent tale of learning, of sense made, of new ideas developed, tested and sometimes discarded" (Baume, 2001:8).

Portfolio-based learning thus tends to draw heavily on _experiential learning theory_, particularly Kolb’s (1984) concept of the ‘learning cycle’ (see also Maughan, 1996). This recognises that experience by itself is just a starting point. Learning only takes place if students reflect on that experience, conceptualise new ‘rules’ for action based on their experience and reflection, and then test those rules in another concrete situation.

Last Modified: 4 June 2010