Friday, January 25, 2008

Sticky ePortfolios

I just bought the book Made to Stick, which is subtitled,"Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die." The subtitle really made me think about ePortfolios. How can we have ePortfolios that both students and teachers want to use. I found Ali Jafari's Educause Review article, The “Sticky” ePortfolio System: Tackling Challenges and Identifying Attributes (2004) which raises some very good issues related to institutional implementation of ePortfolio systems. He compares ePortfolios with the implementation of course management systems (CMS), and identifies these factors for a Successful ePortfolio Project = I + J + K + L + M + N + O:
  • I = ease of use
  • J = sustainable business plan
  • K = advanced features
  • L = robust integrated technology architecture
  • M = lifelong support
  • N = standards and transportability, and
  • O = X (undetermined factors)
The Made to Stick book identifies six qualities of an idea that is made to stick (with the acronym SUCCESs):
  • Simplicity: "How do you strip an idea to its core..."
  • Unexpectedness: "How do you capture people's attention... and hold it?"
  • Concreteness: "How do you help people understand your idea and remember it much later?"
  • Credibility: "How do you get people to believe your idea?"
  • Emotional: "How do you get people to care about your idea?"
  • Stories: "How do you get people to act on your idea?"
I think these concepts work well when considering ePortfolios. To be successful with students and teachers, ePortfolios should be simple: the more complex, the less they will be used. They need to include concrete examples. They need to have an emotional component which includes stories to help make them meaningful.

No comments: