From paper to online—the electronic practice webfolio: A reflective account
Portfolios are a frequently used tool for recording, cataloguing and presenting reflections for revalidation purposes, and are used by a number of healthcare professions. More recently, with the development of online resources, the webfolio has become more commonplace in midwifery undergraduate programmes. This article will review the literature in relation to portfolios and outline the key stages in the development and implementation of a webfolio in a midwifery undergraduate programme. The audit of compliance in students and sign off midwifery mentors for the first cohort who used the webfolio will be presented.
There are a range of known educational benefits in using a portfolio-type document, including an improvement in student knowledge and understanding, increased self-awareness, and greater engagement in reflection and student-tutor relationships (Buckley et al, 2009). The use of an electronic personal academic record was launched in 2014 to enable students in the School of Health Science at the University of Nottingham to develop, shape and share their academic and clinical learning experiences. The electronic personal academic record was so successful that, in preparing for the undergraduate midwifery programme's re-approval, the decision was made to develop the online component further to provide an online portfolio to record all clinical competencies, reflective experiences and assessments (including grading) in practice. There were a number of clear advantages of using an electronic practice document to support a new innovative curriculum: increased accessibility of the document for the student, the clinical midwifery mentors and the midwifery lecturers, which thereby enabled instant access from any location; immediate feedback; and the use of hyperlinks to organise material and link to relevant content and objectives (Sánchez Gómez et al, 2013). In addition, the student does not have to carry around a large practice document while on placement, reducing the possibility of it being lost and the risk of any fraudulent entries. Another key advantage to an electronic portfolio is that all sign-off mentors who work with the student over the 3-year programme can access the entries if required. Once qualified, students will be be able to access the portfolio and use as part of their revalidation requirements, should they choose to develop it once registered (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018).
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