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Portfolio - General Information

With the help of e-portfolios, learners can design, document and reflect on their learning and development processes. Different portfolio types can be realized in OpenOlat's Portfolio 2.0.

What is a portfolio?

Portfolio – a term often used and interpreted differently. Originally the term is latin and compound of two parts: portare = carry and folio = paper. A portfolio are therefore papers which can be carried. Often that happens in so called binders. As soon as a portfolio is supported electronically and contains electronic medias it is called ePortfolio. Portfolios, for example, have been common in the "art" field for many years. Application portfolios also have a longer tradition. The electronic storage of the various elements, often called artifacts, in electronic folders or collective folders is called an ePortfolio. The goal of an ePortfolio is to collect electronic data, reflect on the individual artifacts and also the compilations, and thus optimize one's own learning process. Thereby ePortfolios can be used only for oneself, individually, or with release for other persons (teachers, peers).


A portfolio is not just portfolio. It is differentiated between divers type. Here there are shown three types exemplarily:

  • Reflexion portfolio: The reflection portfolio is divided one more time in learn and assessment portfolio.

  • Learn portfolio: The creater is in the same time also the owner of the portfolio and in general the portfolio is created self-motivated.

  • Assessment portfolio: Assignments are provided externally and the assessment criteria are defined in advance, so the portfolio becomes other-directed. Normally the creater is not the owner of the portfolio.

  • Development portfolio: The own development is documented with diverse artifacts. A learner documents his further development over a longer period of time and collects all relevant artifacts in his ePortfolio. If necessary, he can later create different portfolio folders from these development documents.

  • Presentation portfolio: Hereby the creater of the portfolio is presenting himself. This type can be used e.g. as a form of an application portfolio. For this, the user places collected artifacts under a specific question or for a specific purpose or for a specific target group.


Every type has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore it is essential to clarify in the beginnen wherefore a portfolio is created and to whom it is addressed. That's the only way to make it possible choosing the right form and achieving the maximum benefit.

Advantages of a portfolio

A portfolio has several advantages:

  • The users of a portfolio can collect, describe and analyze contents of any type. Especially the electronic dump simplifies this process.
  • With a portfolio it is possible to reflect the own learning and thus optimize the learning process.
  • As everything is saved in binders, the portfolio keeps accessible over a longer period. This enables comparisons and with the access rights for third parties even more feedback can be gained.
  • Feedback and third-party responses on all collected materials as well as on selected parts can be easily obtained.

Disadvantages of a portfolios

Of course there are also disadvantages of a portfolio:

  • If there are too strong specifications, the portfolio is filled out from the user like the "purchaser" wants it and not like the user would have designed it. Thus the self-reflexion gets lost.
  • Often a portfolio provides unlimited space to collect whatever is found. It's the skill to collect the relevant and be courageous to leave unimportant.
  • A reflexion on its own is for sure a a good thing but can be used in extremis in a portfolio. This danger of "over reflexion" needs to be prevented.
  • The use of ePortfolios only makes sense if they are used over a longer period of time, e.g. one semester, one year or during the entire study program.

Sources (in german)



EinenTaxonomie für E-Portfolios

Last update: 2024-05-24