The digital portfolio to make formal, non formal and informal learning visible Training and discussion laboratory Rome, March, 27th 2008 Anna Maria Ajello & Cristina Belardi University of Rome ‘Sapienza’ Overview 1. A brief introduction: the ‘history’ of portfolio 2. Assessing NFL and IFL in the European context. 3. A project for recognising NF and IF learning of young disadvantaged people 4. The portfolio as an assessing tool 5. The construction of a digital portfolio The ‘history’ of portfolio: recently • European Union • Debate about the portfolio as a useful tool to make visible and to prove what a person is able to do • From a lifelong and life wide learning point of view The ancient ‘history’ of portfolio • Tool used by artists like painters and handicrafts • to show their best products and their competences to their prospects Another recent ‘history’ of portfolio • Contribution of cognitive psychology and sociocultural psychology to the ‘science of evaluation’ • More complex ways of considering learning and knowing • brought to elaborate evaluating tools –like the portfolio- that could fit for new assessing pourposes and processes (authentic assessment) Assessing NFL and IFL in the European context In the European context acknowledged: 1. Important role to lifelong learning (to change the job, mobility etc.); 2. Importance of every kind of learning, acquired in different type of contexts (F-formal, NF-non formal, IF-informal) (Rough) differences among F, NF and IF learning Type of learning Context Certifications Intentional Structured Formal learning School, training courses etc. Yes Yes Yes Non-formal learning Outside the institutional and educational contexts (e.g. lessons at home to learn how to play guitar) No Yes Yes Informal learning Daily life activities (work, leisure, hobbies etc.) No No No It is important to make connections among the contexts where several type of learning are acquired in order to promote: – – – – Personal satisfaction Active citizenship Social inclusion ‘Employability’ In order to do it, is required to develop new validation processes and methods. Several initiatives in European countries as described in the ‘European Inventory on validation of non formal and informal learning’ by Otero M.S., McCoshan A., Junge K., 2005, ECOTEC Research & Consulting : www.ecotec.com/europeaninventory/2005.html Es: Booklet in Finland, Digital Portfolio in Italy, etc. Projects managed directly by E.C. and by CoE: • European Portfolio of languages • European Portfolio for youth leaders and youth-workers In.Tra: A project for recognising NF and IF learning of young disadvantaged people Aim: recognition of informal competencies acquired by young disadvantaged people with a medium-low level of education Target group: known to have few literacy- competencies Tool/method: “user friendly”, not a software for selfassessment A quotation from an interview with a young Italian drop-out: M: well, since I am crazy about Bob Marley, the colours of the Reggae’s flag are green, yellow and red. I have a wall full of Bob’s posters, so I put green, yellow and red lamps ….at the background I get reggae’s flag. It’s really cool! I get Bob’s image, on a Reggae background. Interv:: So you want to put them parallel to each other, like this (with my hands I show the parallel position of the lamps) in such a way that the three colours of the flag are appearing. M: yes Interv: And which was ….what do you have to invent? How to attach them to the wall? M: no, not how to attach them to the wall, I have to invent…I mean I have to find a way to synchronize because you can’t just put one here and another one there…I have to find out how to direct it. Interv:: oh, oh, I understand. And you attached the lamps to the cable, everything ? Well done! And how did you do it, had you already learnt how to do it, had you learnt it here? M: my father taught me. The interviews: some results The persons who taught the dropouts how to perform are: friends, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, grandparents, parents in-law. Many of them watched the expert performing an activity and then they “stole” some information about how to perform “with their eyes” and then copied him/her They tried by themselves, asking the expert for some advice. E.g.: Maurizio ( 16 years old) - I saw some friends of mine while they were doing it, I liked it so I have tried.... at the beginning they helped me, then I did it by myself. They learned to do things by themselves just by reading, trying, inventing, or doing. E.g.: Luca, 17 years old,: - Once the TV remote control was broken, so I opened it because if something was broken I could solder it again.... I tried by myself. It is ironic that many young disadvantaged people trivialize what they learned in informal contexts, outside school, such as M. who says I’m able to knock down a wall, but I think everybody can: he belittles himself. Characteristics of IL: • everyday life activities - learning result of meaningful activities (Rogoff and Lave 1984, Lave, 1988) • nature partly tacit (Polany, 1967) - hard to explain verbally and not even aware - Learning: a process in everyday lives Origins: research about ‘everyday cognition’ and ‘apprentiship in thinking’ (Rogoff e Lave, 1984; Rogoff, 1991), Learning as participating in situated activities which make sense for people involved. Learning is a characteristic of every human life from its beginning to the end. Learning in school • Different from the way we learn at school: we learn concepts related to disciplines through verbal practices • Also evaluating practices are verbal We suggest to take into consideration a piece written by L. Resnick, concerning how to evaluate learning acquired at work through a portfolio and by means of ‘on demand’ assessment L. Resnick’s description of the portfolio: methodology of assessment to be used within educational and training contexts A young woman needs to carry out evidences of her skills to gain a place as a senior apprentice in the workshop of a famous weaver. 1. The young woman’s portfolio would include: woman’s works a letter written by the craftsman in whose shop she did her initial apprentice work stamped with the establishment’s known seal few words – added by that craftsman - about the reliability and willingness of work of the aspirant. certification from the Regional Association of Weavers from which the applicant came 2. On-demand performance assessment : the master weaver could check the applicant’s skills to produce work of the kind included in her portfolio by watching her producing similar pieces of work. 3. A jury to examine portfolios and evaluate performances; 4. Standards explaining the criteria for the kind of work he should include Another way of considering learning and assessment Competence: being able to perform well in particular environments Performance assessment: focused on certifying accomplishments rather than on identifying enduring traits of individuals During the InTra project we could elaborate a tool for making learning visible –not for assessing or evaluatingthrough a digital portfolio including: photos of the works/accomplishments videos to make the procedures with which the young people carried out their works visible Portfolio as an interesting tool to make visible IFL acquired by young disadvantaged people. It is important to acknowledge the differences among assessment, recognition, validation and making visible, etc. !! O bjective of the process of analysis of com petencies T o m ake visible T o recogn ise T o evaluate C ertification of com peten cies K ind of activities a person should be able to do A ctivities ch osen by th e person that wish es to evaluate its own in form al com peten cies Represen tative activities selected by th e person s th at are in volved in th e analysis of com peten cies. E m blem atic activities selected by th e key actors of th e system , to be realised in form al evaluation situation s. E m blem atic activities selected by th e key actors of th e system , to be realised in form al evaluation situation s. T ype of proof K ind of shared criteria for the analysis of com petencies Products/ outcom es of activities Interactive (agreem ent between th e tutor an d th e person wan ting to evaluate his form al and in form al skills) Products/ outcom es of represen tative activities Inter-subjective (agreem ent between m ore than two person s) E m blem atic products/ outcom es E m blem atic products/ outcom es Public evaluation criteria, shared by th e key actors of th e system (e.g. M inistry of E ducation, V ocation al train ing centres, com panies etc.). Public evaluation criteria, shared by th e key actors of th e system an d diplom as/certificates that are recogn ised at in stitutional level (e.g. by R egion al auth orities, th e M inistry of E ducation, V ocation al trainin g cen tres) To understand the characteristics of the portfolio method we have to clarify some new concepts elaborated in the field of psychology, hence we have to connect to the recent hystory of portfolio. • Contribution of cognitive psychology and sociocultural psychology to the ‘science of evaluation’ • More complex ways of considering learning and knowing • brought to elaborate evaluating tools –like the portfolio- that could fit for new assessing pourposes and processes (authentic assessment) Authentic assessment It is different from testing: performance assessment through the simulation of real, everyday situations Authentic assessment • • Questions asked to the students: make sense for them, related to the syllabus (curriculum) covered in the course of the term Activities of teaching/learning: several, motivating/appealing Portfolio: broad definition Significant collection of the works. It gives evidence to the history of the efforts, of the advances and of the outcomes achieved in one or more learning fields or professional contexts. Portfolio ‘A must for the process’: a) the student’s participation in choosing the contents; b) The explanation of criteria for choosing the contents ; c) Criteria for giving the credits; d) Evidence of student’s thinking about his/her learning process and outcomes Differences among portfolios related to: • Goals to be achieved through it • Contents selected • Who is the manager/owner of the portfolio Working portfolio Collection of products made in time No systematic selection of the products with reasons explained: it helps in becoming more aware of the process of learning but not in critically analysing important moments in the learning process when the person increased (or not) in terms of learning It is not assessment During the construction of a portfolio there is assessment when … the person • collects products, • thinks about his/her learning process • takes decisions concerning his/her future steps To think about the practice (about his/her own products and learning processes) positively affects metacognitive and affective/motivational processes : • increasing awareness, autonomy and responsibility concerning; • practices, products, learning and about oneself as learning person and as actor becoming expert. Digital instead of paper portfolio • It allows to give evidence both of the end product through photos of it, and of the process during which the product was made through videos. • Innovation for the disciplines of evaluation: process evaluation no more distinguished from outcome evaluation (no more dichotomous) The construction of a Digital Portfolio • Meeting and interviews between the tutor and the user. • Tools like a computer, a scanner, a videocamera, etc . • 5 main phases. First Phase • Tools to be used: A PC with Cd reader and word processor, a Cd Rom with an example of a digital portfolio already completed • Objectives: to conclude a good working agreement and to start projecting the portfolio First Phase • Activities: to analyse the reasons why the user would like to make his/her own portfolio (goals to reach); to explain to the user the objectives of the process, describing what a digital portfolio exactly is, and the extent of both his and the tutors involvement, underlining the importance of the mutual collaboration. • It is useful at this point to illustrate the differences between the three types of learning. Second Phase • Tools to be used: a paper folder for each user, a computer, and sheets of paper • Objectives: Analyse and choose the proofs of formal and non-formal learning to be inserted into the digital portfolio. Second Phase Activities: • To Provide the user with a paper folder: “paper portfolio” that will precede the construction of the digital version on Cd Rom. • To Prepare a Word file with his/her personal data Second Phase • • • • To analyse with the user his institutional education To list on a sheet of paper the institutional certificates (formal learning) To analyse non-formal learning activities To think about evidences and to list them (Certificates, Self-declarations, References like letters from an employer, etc.) Second Phase • To sum up all the proofs of the formal and non-formal learning • To suggest to comment on and to explain the reasons why s/he chose those evidences Third Phase • Tools to be used: Software Editor for presentations, a scanner, video captures software, a computer with Cd Rom reader, a Cd Rom, an interview model, sheets of paper. • Objective: Begin to structure the digital portfolio and to realize a semi-structured interview in order to analyse the user’s informal learning and to favour the process leading to awareness. Analysis of IFL through a semistructured interview • A kind of research process in which both the tutor and the user are involved • The tutor supports the person in the collection of data concerning his informal competencies through a process of active interpersonal communication between the tutor and the young person. • Useful tools: 2 interview models • Each interview model covers a specific context of informal training i.e. work and free time. • The models permit the tutor to take notes concerning the data collected during the semistructured interview and to summarise consequently the various activity systems in which the young person is competent. • The tutor asks the user to describe the activities in which s/he has taken part in the various informal contexts and tries to get a particular insight into the methods and sources of learning, into the tools that the person has learned to use in order to realise those activities and into the type of products resulting from it, which are the visible results of these activities. n. 1 Context :Work Activity Methods and Sources of Learning Tools Products Scooter repaired …. 1.A photo of the scooter before and after repair 2. A letter signed by the boss of the mechanic shop …. Lists of the materials to buy and the specifications of quantity of each product …. 1.List of products ordered and bought 2. Photographs of boxes of materials ordered and delivered to the shop …. Ex. Mechanic: repaired scooters and automobiles Observing the boss at work and receiving lessons from him on this matter ….. 1.………… 2.………… 3.………… n. ………… Ex. Helping father in family shop By asking questions to his father and receiving informative response …. 1. 2. 3. n. ……… ……… ……… ………. Proof n. 2 Context: Free Time (Hobbies, Sport, Home) Activity Methods and sources of learning Tools Ex. Painting … Observing friends, reading books titled… Trying by myself. 1.……… 2.… 3.… n ... Ex. Cooking Observing and listening to instructions from mother, sister etc. 1.. 2.. 3.. n.. Ex. Repairing the T.V. remote control Trying on his own to take it apart and put it back together again 1.. ………. 2.. …….. 3.. ……… n.. ……… ……. …….. ……… ……… Products Proof painting 1 painting 2 …. 1.photoraph of a painting 2.Video recording of the young person painting … Cakes pasta ….. 1.Photograph of a cake 2.Video recording of the young person cooking ….. remote control being repaired …. Photo and video of the remote control being repaired by the youth ….. At the end of the semi-structured interview the tutor summarises all activities that the user is capable of performing, highlighting the person’s informal competencies and then asks him to choose which competencies are the most important in his opinion, and should be included in his portfolio. • One of the aspects to which the tutor must pay major attention when managing the interview for the analysis of competencies acquired in informal learning contexts regards the tendency of the young persons to marginalise the importance of such competencies. The tutor must guide the person through the realisation of the digital portfolio without substituting his choices, realising a scaffolding activity (Wood D., Bruner J., Ross G., 1976), which means a psychological support (emotional and cognitive). The proofs of informal competencies that can be inserted on the Cd Rom are: • Letters from employers • Photographs of products produced in work-related activities and in free time • Video recordings. The photos represent static recognition of products and therefore static proof of competencies that are acquired in informal contexts. • At the end of this phase the tutor will fix a new appointment with the user in which he will ask him to bring the products to be photographed or the photographs already taken with a digital camera. • The two must come to an agreement concerning the video to be recorded, in other words on which activity realized in informal contexts to be filmed, on the place where the filming should take place, etc. Fourth Phase • Tools to be Used: Camera and digital video camera, Cd Rom Computer with Cd reader • Objectives: To choose, realize, and insert the photographs into the “informal learning” section of the digital portfolio, to record the video. Fourth Phase • To make and to choose the photos to be included, and to choose the order of the photos, • with the support of the tutor s/he can write comments near each photo to clarify the type of product or the result of the activity that is being illustrated. • To make videos Fifth Phase • Tools to be Used : Cd Rom. and a computer with Cd Rom reader. • Objectives and activities: To insert the video film on the Cd Rom, eventually making final modifications to the digital portfolio and to observe the final product; to plann future steps Tutor Must be fully aware of the characteristics of informal learning (everyday learning) to be able to recognise immediately the fields of activity in which the person who is to realise the portfolio is competent, watching out all the time for eventual trivialisations. Tutor • To be able to validate the personal characteristics and competencies that until that moment were not sufficiently valorised, hence s/he will be able to support the user in a process aimed at self-empowerment. • To support the young person during moments in which he/she encounters difficulties in verbally expressing him/herself Tutor The tutor must be well aware of the two characteristics that qualify the dialogue to realise the construction of the digital portfolio as a guidance counselling interview. • The first regards the perspective of temporal dimension of the dialogue between tutor and the young person, which must particularly focus on changes and on future plans. Tutor • The second characteristic concerns the emotive support that the tutor should offer to the person, responding “ to his expectations of trust and confirmation of the rationality of his decisions” ( Bastianoni P., Simonelli A., 2001). The tutor should demonstrate to be a trustworthy mediator.