e-PDPs - a good idea or a step too far?

Alan White, Malcolm Bell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This short paper reflects on a work in progress which saw the trialling of an electronic approach to supporting Personal Development Plans (PDP) at Northumbria University. From the outset Northumbria's approach to PDP has been to "let every flower bloom". Rather than apply a template across the whole institution that did not reflect the wide range of programmes being delivered, diverse approaches have been encouraged to meet the particular needs of a range of courses. These different approaches can be mapped onto an emergent model that describes PDP delivery in terms of its integration with the academic programme. Within the model can be seen the two paradigms identified by Barrett and Wilkerson (2004) of the 'positivist portfolio' (to assess externally defined outcomes) and the 'constructivist portfolio' (providing an environment in which the learner constructs meaning). Most developments in practice include aspects of both. The authors are conscious of the metaphors of the 'mirror' (reflection), the 'map' (orientation and planning) and the 'sonnet' (self-expression), which have been adopted by Gibson (2004) to explain the various meanings and functions of e-portfolios, and are generating future support programmes to reflect such possibilities. During the academic year 2004 - 2005 Northumbria implemented the Blackboard Learning Content Management System (LCMS). One aspect of the LCMS is an e-portfolio facility and the decision was made to pilot this first with a sample of courses before making it universally available. Consequently in January 2005 potential pilots were identified with a view to providing information to enable the effective release of the facility across the university in April 2005. The pilots were to explore the contribution the e-portfolio facility could make to improvement in the quality of PDP delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2006
EventALT-C 2006: the 13th International Conference of the Association for Learning Technology - Edinburgh
Duration: 5 Sept 2006 → …


ConferenceALT-C 2006: the 13th International Conference of the Association for Learning Technology
Period5/09/06 → …
Internet address


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