What is the relevance of reflective practice in undergraduate e-portfolios to professional work practices?


Reflective practice is a graduate attribute that is typically difficult to assess and measure. Universities are increasingly turning to digital technology as a medium to support reflective skills. This is particularly relevant to undergraduate courses that incorporate professional field placements where students are off campus, including health professional courses. The aim of this study was to determine the relevance of reflective practice in undergraduate e-portfolios to current work practices of new graduate physiotherapists. Graduates (n=6) took part in a focus group which guided the development of a questionnaire sent to all 2010 physiotherapy graduates, addressing the use of e-portfolios and their impact on transition into the workforce. 42% (n=25) of graduates completed the questionnaire. The use of a structured framework for reflections, within the online medium, assisted to promote reflective practice. Graduates felt that they were more automatic in their reflections and resultant work practices, as a result of utilising assessed undergraduate e-portfolios. The future challenge for educators is to balance context, assessment and delivery of reflective practice tasks. E-portfolios are one medium that may assist with the development of reflective practice skills beyond graduation.


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The Authors:

Associate Professor Jo Connaughton

Ms Susan Edgar