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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.12c - Empowering Learners to Bridge the 'Articulation of Skills' Gap through ePortfolio Reflections

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Graduates who are best equipped to succeed in this rapidly changing world can adapt and apply their skills to new and unpredictable contexts. But how and when do we actually give them the opportunity to do this kind of learning in the classroom?

This question belies a deep prejudice within our current teaching system: faculty and students tend to focus exclusively on academic content because that is what officially "counts." Moreover, faculty generally feel ill-equipped to make visible to students the ways in which their coursework provides the context for learning and mastering professional skills including communication, teamwork, decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership, skills they will require in their professional and civic lives (Dela Harpe & Radloff, 2012). Shea et al (2014) postulate that, as a result, our graduates cannot present the full range of their skills and learning to employers, often their most important next-stage stakeholders, and calls this gap in learning an ‘articulation of skills’ gap.

Our research project tested whether students who engaged in specific, guided, and focused eportfolio reflections about the learning associated with their course project work were better prepared to articulate their professional skills to employers, six months after course completion than were students in the control cohort who were not assigned the reflection activity.

During our session, we’ll share our findings related to the impact eportfolio reflection activities had on students’ ability to bridge the ‘articulation of skills’ gap. In addition, we’ll share the details of the structured eportfolio reflection activity. At the end of the session, participants will consider how they might incorporate opportunities and guidance to help their students identify and articulate these tacit, professional skills.

Dela Harpe, B., & Radloff, A. (2012). Lessons learned from three projects to design learning environments that support 'generic' skill development. Journal of Learning Design, 1(2), 21-34.

Shea, R. (2014, May ). A national call to action: Do we need a new discourse on learning? Keynote presentation at Exploring Partnerships in Teaching and Learning. Integrated and Engaged Learning Conference, Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.


Jill Tomasson Goodwin

Associate Professor, University of Waterloo
Jill Tomasson Goodwin is an Associate Professor in the Digital Arts Communication program at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include experiential education, ePortfolios, and skills-based learning and assessment.

Katherine Lithgow

Katherine Lithgow- is a Senior Instructional Developer, Integrative Learning with the Centre of Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo. Katherine facilitates eportfolio and integrative learning initiatives, supporting instructors across campus with the design and implementation... Read More →

Additional Authors

Joslin Goh

Joslin Goh is the Associate Director of the Statistical Consulting and Collaborative Research Unit in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo. Her research revolves around the development of new theoretical and algorithmic methodology for applied... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT
UCC 146