The learning portfolio in higher education: an integrative review

Scully, Darina, O'Leary, Michael and Brown, Mark (2018) The learning portfolio in higher education: an integrative review.


The learning portfolio is often lauded as a powerful pedagogical tool, and consequently,
is rapidly becoming a central feature of contemporary education. This paper synthesizes and
critically reviews the literature pertaining to its use in higher education contexts specifically. Three
key themes are identified and discussed. First, although the theory underlying the use of learning
portfolios is promising, robust empirical evidence supporting their effectiveness remains sparse.
Second, the tool is rooted in a complex pedagogy, and its potential can only be realized if the
processes underlying this pedagogy are properly understood by advocates and executed by users.
Third, there is a recurring tension between the developmental (process) and evaluative (product)
conceptualizations of the learning portfolio. On the basis of these findings, some recommendations
for future research and practice in this area are identified.

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