Pedagogy & Constructivism
-excerpts from IJEP article 7(1), 2017
Full journal article:

ePortfolio Learning Lorenzo and Ittelson (2005) defined ePortfolios as digital collections of student-generated authentic content that include resources and multimedia elements contained in a personal space. ePortfolio learning encompasses the offering and exchange of ideas between learners and their audiences that helps learners to develop critical thinking skills and personal presence. In their research, Janosik and Frank (2013) recognized that ePortfolio used as a learning tool pushed learners to continually grow in their accomplishments. When implemented carefully, ePortfolio learning can make great contributions to student learning experiences (Bryant & Chittum, 2013). ePortfolio learning has roots in andragogy and heutagogy. The term andragogy, popularized by Knowles (1985) and building on the work of educators Alexander Kapp and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, introduced the idea that learners who internalized the learning process focused on how they learned, took control of the learning process on their own terms, and self-regulated their learning. Heutagogy, coined by Hase and Kenyon (2013) is defined as self-determined learning that builds upon constructivism and andragogy. Heutagogy fundamentals also include learning how one learns best, using strategies such as active and reflective learning. The learning approach proposed in this study contains aspects of andragogy and heutagogy that connect to attributes of constructivism and social constructivism, all of which contribute to the ePortfolio learning experience.

Attributes of Social Constructivism
Jonassen (1994) defined constructivism as an active process in which learners construct knowledge based on their experiences. Vygotsky’s (1978) social learning theory described further how social interaction and collaboration influence the construction of knowledge. These two theories share characteristics of Thibodeaux, Cummings, and Harapnuik ePortfolio Persistence 2 social constructivism, where learning is enhanced by layers of social interaction combined with culture and context. Additionally, social environments and social contexts further enhance the learning process by allowing learners to become involved in a community of practice. Research by Carson, McClam, Frank, and Hannum (2014) supported social constructivist learner characteristics, recognizing that ePortfolios serve as tools to “elicit associations with social pedagogies” (p. 75) wherein these associations are meant to promote social learning and connectivity within a community of learners. Eynon et al. (2014) confirmed that social pedagogies are key to learner engagement. Similarly, Jonassen (1995) identified several attributes of meaningful learning. These attributes include learning that is active, constructive, collaborative, intentional, conversational, contextualized, and reflective. Learning is impacted by these attributes and further supported by technology that consists of designs that engage learners and learning environments that promote learner initiated construction of knowledge when learners have opportunities to be socially connected with others. Jonassen (1990) stated that multiple perspectives and learner attributes contribute to meaningful learning opportunities. All of this takes place in the mind of the learner (Jonassen, 1990), and growth of mind cannot be achieved within one’s own skin alone (Bruner, 1991). Bass (2014) acknowledged that ePortfolios and social pedagogies assist learners in developing a sense of agency that is critical to building experience in their chosen field. As ePortfolio learning combines with social learning and constructivist pedagogies, this relationship could have a profound impact on ePortfolio practices used for teaching and learning.

A Learner-Centered Approach
A critical understanding of ePortfolios using social constructivist principles requires a learning approach that complements the very origins of ePortfolio learning. The learning approach in the Digital Learning and Leading (DLL) program was designed with learner-centered principles that enable a shift of control and ownership of the learning process to the learner and away from the instructor. Researchers recognize this approach as a component of a self-regulated personal learning environment where learners exercise control over the selection of tools and resources that will be gathered and disseminated through choice of content and learning tools (Buchem, 2012; Buchem, Tur, & Hölterhof, 2014; Sheperd & Skrabut, 2011). Drawing upon Dewey’s (1910) theory that reflection within the learning community deepens and complements learning, Nguyen and Ikeda (2015) acknowledge that ePortfolios can enhance the self-regulated learning process. As such, ePortfolios were acknowledged as the eleventh high-impact practice in the field of education (Center for Engaged Learning, 2016). To create such an experience for learners, Eynon et al. (2014) proposed that “the most powerful ePortfolio practice is inherently connective and integrative” (p. 8) when combined with other high-impact learning practices. Since ePortfolio practice is inherently eclectic, it deserves an equally eclectic learning foundation. In the DLL program, we developed the COVA (choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity) learning approach to give our learners the freedom to choose (C) how they wish to organize, structure and present their experiences and evidences of learning. We give them ownership (O) over the selection of their authentic projects and the entire ePortfolio process—including selection of their portfolio tools. We use the ePortfolio experiences to give our learners the opportunity to use their own voice (V) to revise and restructure their work and ideas. Finally, we use authentic (A) or real world learning experiences that enable students to make a difference in their own learning environments (Harapnuik, 2016). Subsequent paragraphs address the related literature that pertain to ePortfolio learning and the elements necessary for a learner-centered approach. We will refer to learner-centered ideas as the COVA learning approach.

Experiential Learning

Authentic Assessment

Reflective Practice

Professional Learning, ePortfolios, Pedagogy, Constructivism


Research-Based Articles, Books, & Studies

*Those denoted with a * symbol are those Dr. Thibodeaux recommends.
Links to Dr. Thibodeaux approved research can be found here. Take a gander at using these resources for your future projects, research, and initiatives. You may find some valuable information and lessons to be learned from the content shared below.
Most of the research contained here is within 5 years of the current year so as to keep current with the trends.
Journals are referenced in alphabetical order as per the guidelines for the APA Manual 6th edition.
Take a gander at the International Journal of ePortfolio open-source journals:

ePortfolio Learning

Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2009). Emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate education. Peer Review, 11(1), 18-23. Retrieved from
*Bass, R. (2014). Social pedagogies in ePortfolio practices: Principles for design and impact. Retrieved from
Batson, T. (2013, October 30). Re: Portfolios at a crossroad [Web log message]. Retrieved from
*Batson, T. (2016, June 14). The ePortfolio challenge: If ePortfolios are so great, why aren’t more people using them? [Web log message]. Retrieved from
*Bolliger, D. U., & Sheperd, C. E. (2010). Student perceptions of ePortfolio integration in online courses. Distance Education, 31(3), 295-314. Abstract:
Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 17-192. Retrieved from

Buchem, I. (2012).  Psychological ownership and personal learning environments. Do possession and control really matter? Proceedings of the PLE Conference, 1-21. Retrieved from
Buchem, I., Attwell, G., & Torres, R. (2011). Understanding personal learning environments: Literature review and synthesis through the activity theory lens. Proceedings of the PLE Conference, 1-33. Retrieved from
Buchem, I., Tur, G., & Hölterhof, T. (2014). Learner control in personal learning environments: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 15(2), 14-53. Retrieved from
*Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of realityCritical Inquiry, 18, 1-21.

Bryant, L. H., & Chittum, J. R. (2013). ePortfolio effectiveness: A(n ill-fated) search for empirical support. International Journal of ePortfolio, 3(2), 189-198. Retrieved from
*Center for Engaged Learning. (2016, July 27). George Kuh on ePortfolio as High-Impact Practice. Retrieved from
Clark, J. E., & Eynon, B. (2009). E-portfolios at 2.0 – Surveying the field.  Peer Review, 11(1),18-23. Retrieved from
*Eynon, B., Gambino, L. M., & Török, J. (2014). What difference can ePortfolio make? A field report from the Connect to Learning projectInternational Journal of ePortfolio, 4(1), 95-114.

*Harapnuik, D. (2016, September 29). COVA Model [Web log]. Retrieved from
Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Reeves, T. C. (2003). Patterns of engagement in authentic online learning environments. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 19(1), 59-71. Retrieved from
*Labaree, D. F. (2005). Progressivism, schools, and schools of education: An American romance. Paedagogica Historica, 41(1&2), 275-288. Retrieved from
Landis, C. M., Scott, S. B., & Kahn, S. (2015). Examining the role of reflection in ePortfolios: A case study. International Journal of ePortfolio, 5(2), 107-121. Retrieved from
*Latham, G. & Carr, G. (2015). Building on authentic learning for pre-service teachers in a technology-rich environment. Journal of Learning Design, 8(3), 65-77. Retrieved from
*Meadows, C., Soper, K., Cullen, R., Wasiuk, C., McAllister-Gibson, C., & Danby, P. (2016). Shaping the future of learning using the student voice: We’re listening but are we hearing clearly? Research in Learning Technology, 24(1), 1-19. doi:10.3402/rlt.v24.30146
Retrieved from
*November, A. (2013). Who owns the learning? Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Available for purchase at:
O’Keeffe, M. O., & Donnelly, R. (2013). Exploration of ePortfolios for adding value and deepening student learning in contemporary higher education. International Journal of ePortfolio, 3(1), 1-11. Retrieved from
*Rhodes, T. L. (2011, January-February). Making learning visible and meaningful through electronic portfolios. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. Retrieved from
Ring, G., & Ramirez, G. (2012). Implementing ePortfolios for the assessment of general education competencies. International Journal of ePortfolio, 2(1), 87-97. Retrieved from
*Rose, T. (2016). The end of average: How we succeed in a world that values sameness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. Available for purchase at:
Sheperd, C. E. & Skrabut, S. (2011). Rethinking electronic portfolios to promote sustainability among teachers. TechTrends: Linking Research to Practice to Improve Learning, 55(5), 31-38. Abstract:

Shroff, R. H., Deneen, C. C., & Lim, C. P. (2014). Student ownership of learning using e-portfolio for career development. Journal of Information Systems Technology & Planning, 7(18), 75-90. Abstract:
Shroff, R. H., Trent, J., & Ng, E. M. (2013). Using ePortfolios in a field experience placement: Examining student-teachers’ attitudes towards learning in relationship to personal value, control, and responsibility. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(2), 143-160.
*Steiner, H. H. (2016). The strategy project: promoting self-regulated learning through an authentic assignment. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 28(2), 271-282. Retrieved from

*Thibodeaux, T. N., Harapnuik, D. K., Cummings, C. D. (2017). Factors that contribute to ePortfolio persistence. International Journal of ePortfolio, 7(1), 1-12. Retrieved from
*Thibodeaux, T. N., Harapnuik, D. K., Cummings, C. D., & Wooten, R. (In press). Learning anytime and anywhere: Moving beyond the hype of the mobile learning quick fix. In Keengwe, J. S. (Eds.), Handbook of research on mobile learning, constructivism, and meaningful learning. Manuscript submitted for publication. Not currently available.
*Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Available for purchase at:
*Watson, C. E., Kuh, G. D., Rhodes, T., Penny Light, T., & Chen, H. (2016). Editorial: ePortfolios – The eleventh high impact practice. International Journal of ePortfolio, 6(2), 65-69. Retrieved from



Professional Learning, Research, ePortfolios, Pedagogy, Constructivism, Social Constructivism



We believe that we must inspire and prepare our learners to lead organizational change using technology innovations as a catalyst for enhancing learning.
To do this, we create a significant learning environment (CSLE) that gives our learners choice, ownership and voice through authentic (COVA) learning opportunities.
We prepare leaders who can lead organizational change and drive innovation in a digitally connected world.

Core Proposition
Choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning

Student-Centered Learning, Professional Learning, Research, ePortfolios, Pedagogy, Failing Forward, COVA, CSLE, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Growth Mindset, Feedback/Feedforward, Self-Directed Learning

, , ,

Build a School in the Cloud


Watch Sugata Mitra as he addresses these important questions: What is the future of learning? Where does learning come from?   “Could it be…..that we don’t need to go to school at all?, the point of time you need to know something you can find out in 2 minutes?, could it be where knowing is obsolete?”

Professional Learning, Thib Talks, Disruptive Innovation, CSLE, Constructivism, Collaboration



 ePortfolio as the 11th High Impact Practice (HIP)

ePortfolio Learning

ePortfolio learning is simply the “meaningful, digital evidence of your learning journey.” It should incorporate elements of reflection, aspects of innovation, a blog, and should ultimately encompass the pathway of your individual learning experience. You can post your innovative ideas, research, pictures, projects, and any thing that is important and relevant to you on your ePortfolio via page or post. Remember that YOU own your ePortfolio and YOU own the learning by controlling all aspects of your ePortfolio. You can set your ePortfolio up as you wish, choosing your any platform available that allows you to incorporate as many elements as you desire. Remember, to consider the functionality vs. the limitations to see which ePortfolio platform best suits your learning needs and will best represent your learning experience. You will be able to take your ePortfolio with you as you venture into other learning experiences, career positions, academic paths, or new business dealings. The choice, ownership, and voice through authentic ePortfolio learning is your digital environment in which you can establish your digital presence and communicate your passion to the world.
For further ideas on Who owns the learning? check out this great book by Alan November available for purchase on Amazon. The next time you wonder whether you should or should not add something to your ePortfolio, remember that YOU can easily own your learning experience and pathway if you take ownership and learner agency from the very beginning and allow a bit of flexibility and room to grow and change.


Student-Centered Learning, Professional Learning, ePortfolios, Constructivism, Collaboration, Self-Directed Learning

, , , , ,