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John Pallister :: Blog :: Process, Process, Process

August 28, 2008

Over the years I have come across many Trainers using the “Product is not really important, it is the process that is”  Mantra.


I have found myself using the same mantra as I attempt to spread the good word about the ePortfolio process.


I began to reflect on my learning journey through course developments, assessment evolution, skills teaching and onward to ePortfolios. 


I have seen coursework introduced to CSE, GCE, GCSE and A level courses, and am now watching it being removed. I am watching as extended projects are being developed for  14 -19 learners.


I have followed and contributed to discussions about the efficacy of portfolio assessment and have watched examining boards develop many different approaches to portfolio assessment.


I have watched as Core Skills metamorphosed to Key Skills and more recently to Functional Skills and have seen portfolio assessment come and go from these programmes in the search for ‘rigour’ and to ensure ‘authenticity’.


Back to Process. Throughout all of the portfolio assessment approaches that I have been involved with, students have been expected to follow the same basic process or cycle. They have been expected to plan how they intend to do something [including how they will research it];  get on an do it [managing their own time and recording what they actually do]; present a REPORT that explains what they have done and found out; review and evaluate [and present their review and evaluation].


Thinking back to my early Science education, I followed the same process. Thinking about the garage door I about to repair, I have followed the same process, except that I will not write it up (I might recount my experiences in my Blog or in the Pub!).


I suppose before we learn to ‘think’ about how we might do something, ie the Plan stage, we just do something, hurt our selves, or fail. That presumably triggers the ‘learning’ that tells us to try to work out, in our minds, how to do something before we do it. Planning in the abstract rather simply operating in the concrete.


The process we are talking about here is fundamental to everything that individuals, and groups, do. I suspect that it is a process that we intuitively follow from birth. I need some attention; what can I do; I will cry/smile [that worked last time] ; I cried/smiled [was ignored – need a new plan]. I am sure the experts will be able to drive a coach and team of horses though my argument, but I am personally becoming more and more convinced that the Plan, Do and Review cycle is a fundamental Process. A process that we all use to survive; a process that we all follow as we learn.


If the process is so important, the UK’s push on Personal Leaning and Thinking skills makes sense. It would also make sense to harness the available technology and tools that will support the process.  So what could we use?


Overview for Keywords: ePortfolio, learning, Personal Learning and Thinking skills, PLTS, process

Posted by John Pallister

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