What is the most effective way to learn? And what strategies are best for guiding your own growth and development? Have you ever asked yourself those questions? I have, and in my cooperative study program (Duales Studium) with Deutsche Telekom, I'm now answering them by using an e-portfolio to track and guide my learning.
An e-portfolio – an online diary
You can use your e-portfolio like a highly functional online diary, meaning you can use it to record your daily activities and link them with specific goals. With respect to my coursework, my e-portfolio always gives me a good overview of my current learning progress. At all times, I can see what I still need to do in order to reach my study goals on time. That's because I enter a completion deadline for each goal and define activities that will enable me to meet it. In addition, when I come to the end of a learning period, I look back and reflect on it and describe how I experienced it. That helps me optimize my way forward in my learning and development.
I assign my learning goals and activities to various categories, including "Business Know-How," "Creative & Entrepreneurial Mindset," "Collaboration & Cross-cultural Communication," "Digital Competence" and "Lifelong Learning." Each of these categories corresponds to a separate field of knowledge and receives its own emphasis within my cooperative study program. This approach really helps me zoom in on specific aspects – I can always plan and adjust my activities in keeping with what I most need to work on.
Keeping track of my experience helps me review what I've learned from past projects and to apply my learning to new projects and challenges. Here are some questions I like to ask myself when I'm making entries in my portfolio. Maybe you will find them useful, too:
What went well, and what went less well?
In each case, how did I feel at the time?
Did I really give 100%?
What would I do differently now?
And this especially important one: What did I learn?
Working with the e-portfolio
When something doesn't work out the way you expected it to, then take the time to reflect on what happened and why. That is the only way you'll be able to learn and profit from your experience. Learning to deal with both success and failure is the key to learning and growing.
The practical benefits of an e-portfolio
I use my e-portfolio every day, in both my internship and university settings.
In my internship, I use it to define methods, approaches and goals for projects and to plan specific steps toward my goals. In my university work, I find my e-portfolio especially useful when I'm preparing presentations or studying for tests.
As it happens, I first became aware of the whole e-portfolio concept through my studies. It's a great tool for tracking and assessing your own learning and development. In using it regularly, I've seen how important it is to know where I stand in light of what I want to accomplish. And it keeps me aware of those minor successes and experiences that I might otherwise forget. This tool, offered by Deutsche Telekom, helps me stay mindful of my learning success and my accomplishments. I stay focused on my goals and feel continually motivated to keep working toward them.
Would you like to know more about the e-portfolio for students in cooperative degree courses? Or share some of your own experience with an e-portfolio?
Then please let us hear from you on this blog's comments function.