Abstract: Efforts to help faculty adopt electronic portfolios are weakened by the lack of a consensus in the electronic portfolio field about its guiding learning theory: What theoretical framework are we moving from and what theoretical framework are we moving toward when we adopt electronic portfolios in transformative ways? There is promising research into how adults learn that is worth exploring. This research, especially over the past 30 years, has broadened in scope, including and synthesizing vital findings from a wide array of scientific fields beyond the traditional research in education or psychology, including anthropology, social science, cognitive science, linguistics, and others. Findings and analyses that synthesize this broader perspective on the social and experiential aspects of learning can help the electronic portfolio field develop its own theoretical grounding. One prominent idea, in particular, is germane to the developmental work in our field: This is the idea that experience is necessary for all learning. From this gathering consensus among learning researchers about the importance of experience, a concept developed about how adults learn best, called situated learning, a humanistic view of learning that envisions learning in real life occurring constantly, outside of the classroom as well as in the classroom. This holistic consensus fits our time, our new distributed knowledge-building structures and learning technologies, and the work our graduates will be doing. At the same time, this situated learning consensus calls into question the teacher-centric practices that dominate education. Using the frame of situated learning to inspire and organize electronic portfolio research provides educational institutions a rational path toward transformation appropriate to our time.
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Batson, T. (2011). Situated Learning: A Theoretical Frame to Guide Transformational Change Using Electronic Portfolio Technology. International Journal of EPortfolio, 1(1), 107–114. http://www.theijep.com/pdf/IJEP34.pdf