Over the course of December 2012 to January 2013 I took a course in Professional Learning Portfolios from the Social Learning Centre with Jane Hart as the facilitator. Individuals from all over the world participated in the course, which was an experiential one designed to get us thinking about – and building – e-portfolios to showcase our ongoing professional development.
It was a worthwhile course and one that raised some questions in my mind about exactly how much I wanted to share about what I was currently learning with the world. Well, I suppose the initial sticking point for me wasn’t really showing what I was currently learning, it was knowing that I would perhaps reveal through that act how much I didn’t already know. Believe me, we had some discussions about that one in the class! The question was, how do we showcase how we are developing ourselves on our e-portfolios but also at the same time look like we are professional people who actually most of the time already know what we are talking about?
Eventually I came around to the idea of promoting both my experience and my ongoing professional development because when it comes right down to it, I know that none of us can really know everything in today’s world. Knowledge is increasing exponentially and we can only know but a fraction of it related to our field at any given time. It’s why we not only have to do good work, read good books (or websites or watch videos or whatever) and take good training courses, but surround ourselves with good people who are willing to share what they know with us. This is part of creating a personal learning network around ourselves that helps us elevate our knowledge to a new level. And it’s a common human experience: from the beginning of time people have talked to and gleaned information from other people to fill in gaps in their own knowledge. The great thing is that right now we have so many ways to do it!
I finally got around to developing a real e-portfolio for myself this summer, which I think does a fairly good job of showing visitors my experience, my training courses completed and my latest work-related reading. But as I write this post I realize that I’ve not yet done a good job in portraying on my e-portfolio the learning opportunities I create for myself by meeting with my personal learning network. For example, how would you know that two weeks ago I met a Calgary woman on Skype for almost an hour of sharing information with each on volunteer management practices and networks in our respective regions? Or that today I’m going to have coffee with (and pick the brain of) a friend with an educational technology background to be able to advance a project I’m currently working on? Knowing this information about how I’m improving my skills and knowledge in informal ways as well as formal ones just might inspire a client to choose me over another professional for a contract one day.
So while this post has the purpose of introducing you to my new e-portfolio, know that it is now – and always will be – a work in progress. Oh I’m sure Google will really love that site because of its constantly updated content! But most importantly it will show that learning to me is an ongoing activity and something that I do in both formal and informal ways, all the time. And I’ll have a vehicle to mirror back to myself just who I am, what I’ve accomplished and yes, the gaps in what I have left to learn. That’s valuable knowledge!
Note: The Social Learning Centre is now currently in “refurbishment mode” (as it says on their website) but one of the sites it redirects you to – the Connected Knowledge Lab – features the Professional Learning Portfolios course which looks like is being offered next in 2014.