Education Ramblings Technology

The eportfolio comparison : Part 1

Last time I stated I was going to discuss the various different eportfolios that exist, and so here shall be my starting point.

Over the next few weeks I plan on discussing the pros and cons of various providers, and a couple of alternatives. I mentioned Dropbox last time, as a storage system that can contain document files to create your own eportfolio of sorts.

The others I plan to discuss are:

So for this week: GP online it is. Powered by Haymarket Business group: GP online is the web portal for the well known GP magazine. A good provider of CPD resources including online elearning, update articles and regular news feeds; it also has a simple eportfolio in the format of its CPD Organiser. Free to get access to using a GP online login, it acts as a structured storage system for your CPD entries.
The entry point is to a simple landing page which shows the folders in which you store your CPD entries. It also has various functions for managing your folders, a clear button for adding a new learning note, a list of recent activity, a tag list and several links to help you use the CPD organiser and suggestions on further educational reading areas, as well as  links to more recently viewed topics.
This allows a simple dashboard that can allow a user quick use of the CD organiser. As you can see, it also has an export folder status. This is vital as it allows you to export your entries to a PDF ready for printing. This option bypasses one crucial function absent on this CPD organiser that an appraisal or revalidation portfolio needs – to be able to share it with your appraiser.
To create an entry is simple, click on the ‘Create note’ button and you get a template that pops up as shown below.
This shows a clean, simple interface, allowing entry of key points such as the learning need that was driving the entry, what was achieved and the impact it has had. It then allows entry of time/credits and a custom tag system which can be very useful. It does not specify any need for reflection, though this can be added in the learning achieved. impact area, though not having a clear section for it can lead to omissions.  Another issue, is that you can not change the template, and only one is provided, so you can not for example have a separate template for significant event analysis or compliments/complaints. You can create folders to add these in, but not in a specific template, which can make documentation and reflection on these a little hard.
It also does not have specified areas within the note for uploading documents or specifying weblinks with your entries, which can be a little frustrating if for example you want to add in a certificate, or link to a website. One reason for the latter maybe that the CPD Organiser does allow you to link easily with any learning material on the Haymarket network with their inbuilt CPD bookmarklet which appears near the bottom of each page as shown here:
 This little button when clicked on will open up a learning note and allow you to enter the page directly into your CPD organiser.
If a web page is not in the Haymarket ‘family’ you can easily set-up a bookmarklet in your browser that will do the same function. Better yet, there are clear instructions on how to set this up in the CPD Organiser.
However frustratingly one aspect is missing. GP online does use myCME to offer a fair amount of its elearning modules. This system does not link with the CPD Organiser and even more frustratingly, requires a separate login to access it.
Overall I find the CPD Organiser a simple tool. It is not a true eportfolio, and I suspect it is not designed to be. It is easy to use, has lots of good quality content, and can be used by anyone, as long as you register with GP online, not a big ask really, especially as it is FREE. It could benefit from better integration with existing content, but if you are looking for a simple or introduction to using an eportfolio, then this could be an easy choice. Personally I do feel if you are using it, you may struggle with appraisal, and this would be best used to keep a track on the online learning you may do i.e. website browsing etc, and then export the files into your main eportfolio.
‘Til next time.

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