The validity of feedback as one of the defining components for electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) to be effective and efficacious has yet to be demonstrated. While the literature has shown individual beneficial features of e-portfolios and feedback per se, evidence of feedback as mediated through technology directly resulting in improved educational practice is scarce. The explanation of how feedback via e-portfolio improves educational practice is particularly vague.
Methods and analysis
The aim of this research is to unpack how and why feedback via e-portfolio is likely to flourish or wither in its path. Given the complexity of intervention, we will apply a theory-driven approach for evidence synthesis called realist synthesis. Informed by realist philosophy of science, it seems the most appropriate method because it explores observed outcomes (O) in terms of causal relationship between relevant contexts (C) and generating mechanisms (M). Initial programme theory will be developed through literature scoping. Later on it will be tested against purposively gathered evidence (through database and journal search), which simultaneously will be evaluated for rigour and relevance (whether method used are trustworthy and whether data contributes to theory building). We strive to (1) uncover ‘context sensitive’ mechanisms that generate feedback via e–portfolio to be (in) effective and (2) define in what circumstances is this mostly likely to occur.
Ethics and dissemination
The synthesis report will be written according to the RAMESES guidelines and its findings will be published in peer reviewed articles and presented at relevant conferences. The aim is to inform: (1) policy and decision makers for future-course design; (2) medical educators/clinical supervisors and learners for improved educational use. No formal ethical approval is required.