Personal development planning and ePortfolios in speech pathology: Staff and student perceptions
School of Medical and Health Sciences
This paper describes the evaluation of the use of an ePortfolio which was embedded across a speech pathology program and designed to enhance employability. Personal development planning (PDP) is a key part of employability and includes learning, reflection, goal setting and understanding the wider context. Students’ perceptions of their engagement in this process were evaluated using a mixed methods approach. Qualitative data was collected through student focus groups and individual staff interviews, while quantitative data was collected via a student questionnaire (reported in Lewis & Strampel, 2014). Qualitative data was analysed using NVivo following the six phases of thematic analysis described by Braun and Clarke (2006). This paper reports the themes which emerged from the focus group data. A key finding of the study was that the platform used was not ideal for the ePortfolio purpose causing frustration and negative reactions from students and colouring their engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the ePortfolio activities. Students achieved some of the objectives of personal development planning, especially goal-setting, but it was not until students were in their final year that they saw the links with their future career and employment. Further embedding of key tasks would enhance employability aspects, including for example involving industry from the first year and modelling the PDP process with students.