Studying and work environments are in constant transformation due to globalization and the exponential advancement in technology. Having this in mind, the European Union has stated in numerous of its policy documents (e.g. the Modernization of Higher Education strategy, the European Employment Strategy – Employment guidelines, the Digital Agenda for Europe) that the European citizens’ lifelong learning and career management skills as well as digital competences need to be strengthened. In practice, this means for example developing pedagogical practices and the relevance of world of work in education, diminishing the gap between labor market needs and graduate skills, and promoting the right skills of the citizens for the modern digital economy. The common factor in all these is the development of lifelong learning competences i.e. civic competences, transversal skills, cultural awareness and critical thinking. In addition, the strategies to improve lifelong learning competences need to address digital competences as well, either in formal education or in the workplaces.
This policy framework has been the basis of the Empowering Eportfolio Process EEP project (2016‒2018) funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. EEP was designed to improve the ePortfolio process in higher education taking into account the assessment and guidance practices, enhancement of students’ digital competences, and the connections to the world of work. The higher education partners from Denmark (VIA University College), Belgium (Katholic University of Leuven, KU Leuven and UC Leuven-Limburg, UCLL), Finland (Häme University of Applied Sciences, HAMK), Ireland (Marino Institute of Education, MIE) and Portugal (Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, IPS) have given their valuable input in creating the understanding about the successful use of ePortfolios, which can be further examined in the EEP article collections: Students’ (Kunnari & Laurikainen 2017), Higher Education (Kunnari 2018), Employers’ perspectives on ePortfolios (Laurikainen & Kunnari 2018) and Empowering ePortfolio Process (Kunnari & Laurikainen 2018).
In the final phase of EEP, the partners collaboratively concluded the results in the project into fifteen recommendations for practice that provide the most important directions for the future development of ePortfolios. These recommendations demonstrate the optimal future conditions for meaningful and effective utilization of ePortfolios at students’, teachers’, higher education and employers’ level. However, it is important to acknowledge that each higher education institute has its own development phases and thus, not all the recommendations can be interpreted as the next possible steps in each country.
Recommendations article on HAMK Unlimited Journal