An exploratory study comparing two electronic portfolio approaches in undergraduate dietetic education

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The use of electronic portfolios in university learning, including within dietetic education, is increasing. We aimed to implement and evaluate an ePortfolio model as part of a final year undergraduate foodservice management unit. The qualitative evaluation focused on the relationships between different modes of eLearning.
A randomised parallel model study design was implemented, with the cohort of 52 students allocated to two different ePortfolio approaches. One student group received a blended learning teaching and learning model via the traditional study only Moodle ePortfolio. The second group received the enhanced Mahara ePortfolio through a supported online ePortfolio platform. Focus groups with study groups (Moodle ePortfolio, n = 16 students and Mahara ePorfolio, n = 15 students) were facilitated by an independent researcher. Focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed with data analysed separately and then together. Use of thematic analysis enabled comparisons to be made between the two ePortfolio experiences.
Thematic analysis found broad themes of satisfaction and supporting learning consistently across both ePortfolio models. Satisfaction was related to both achievement and creativity of portfolio production. Subthemes related to supporting learning included: students requiring support with implementation of new technology, and more clearly defined assessment tasks to improve compatibility with the Mahara ePortfolio.
This research has provided key learnings for the incorporation of ePortfolios into foodservice management education, enabling unit content to meet the needs and expectations of students. Foodservice management competencies can be developed and demonstrated within ePortfolios as part of a blended learning approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • competency
  • education
  • focus group
  • foodservice
  • portfolio
  • student

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