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ePortfolios, eAssessment and the impact for Upskilling and Reskilling

Whilst Learner Management Systems (LMS) and eLearning platforms (LXP) are the flavour of the decade for training providers in the provision of learning content to learners, for scale at reduced costs, the credibility of eLearning knowledge-based assessments (T/F, Y/N, monkey puzzles, etc) in answering if a learner can do the skill, is being questioned. Internationally, three key discomforts from business owners and executives (the training providers clients) about this methodology are emerging:

  1. The knowledge test results may show 100% pass rates, but this does not answer if the learner can do the skill,

  2. Programme completion rates achieving the desired 100% through-put  are not being achieved. The learner and workers do not have strong enough “digital learning muscles” to complete the content to the end on their own.

  3. C-Suite management do not have time to focus, through eLearning, and so they just click, click, click their way through the content to the little test and then carry on.


This reality is becoming less acceptable at board level, and business leaders want to SEE a learner/worker DO the skill in relation to the workplace requirements, and any training content being offered.

 This then posed the big question:

“If the worker can demonstrate that they can do the skill before any training is offered, why should they attend training?”

This simple question triggered a new segment in the skills development industry – the portable applied skills ePortfolio.

The ePortfolio is a compilation of evidence (written docs, completed workplace forms, videos, pictures etc…) demonstrating the Applied Skills of the learner / worker combined into a single folder, which is then reviewed by a Subject Matter Expert, judging the level of competence against a set of standards, learning outcomes, designations, KPA’ OKRs’ CPD, competence definitions and other. But for the ePortfolio to be credible, the micro credential of eAssessment has quickly become a new highlighted skill for ALL jobs (not just training). This skill enables a supervisor/manager to understand the current (baseline) skills of their employees in relation to the Job, and then quickly diagnose the individual, team, department, Job Function, and Business Unit performance Gaps.


The results of an ePortfolio gained through eAssessment, is garnering more attention, and being requested by both business and recruitment teams. As this trend is growing, the requirement to see the principles of assessment (the International best practice defacto standard) must be used to ensure that any assessment of competence, learning, performance review, recruitment process and designation or CPD awards as been applied – satisfying policy and governance expectations.


Finally, this has created the need for ePortfolio Platform’s (the new kid on the block) to enhance the LMS/LXP/eLearning platforms. These platforms track the “process of assessment” making sure all governance of applied skills assessment, principles of assessment and ePortfolio (including completed knowledge tests, skills observation checklists and demonstratable evidence) is housed in a safe, governed and secure protocol.


Both upskilling and reskilling has become a foundation for businesses to remain competitive within the changing world of work, and words like competency, micro and macro credentials, and Continuous Professional Development are being bandied about the internet, causing confusion and frustration for business and training providers a like, because these are all pinned to educational outcomes (knowledge tests – through exams, eLearning and LXPs) as opposed to business outputs (demonstration of skills - ePortfolios). Through all the noise, there is limited guidance on how to maximize the opportunity.


The eAssessment Process and the Digital Assessment ECOSystem are the 2 key elements that need to be understood and leveraged to create a credible and valid eAssessment strategy that any business will adopt.


1. The eAssessment process This simple process reverses the current accepted instructional design trend of content curation, which is that content is created before assessment.

a. Get a Standard:

Ask your client OR find a standards, competency, or outcomes framework, even use Job profiles. These will define what success will look like for any formal learning, upskilling or reskilling initiative. This example is the European Occupations Framework that clearly defines what the applied skills of an occupation will look like.

b. Define Acceptable Evidence

To ensure that fairness is applied to the standard, describe what evidence will be acceptable for submission by the learner/worker to show that the standard has been achieved, within an acceptable timeframe. (i.e. a 30 sec video of you serving a cup of coffee)

c. Create an Alignment Matrix

Create an alignment matrix that links the assessment criteria (standard) to the acceptable evidence. This can become the baseline for your content development strategy.

d. Choose eAssessment Platform

Document where the evidence must be submitted for assessment (platform/postage), and how long the person can expect to wait for results.



2. Digital Assessment ECOSystem (More here)

According to the USAID’s Digital Strategy article A digital ecosystem is comprised of stakeholders, systems, and an enabling environment that together empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with each other, and pursue economic opportunities.

The #eAssessment #ECOsystem is comprised of many different stakeholders, systems and networks, each requiring a different set of actions or functions to successfully achieve the assessment process. Detail the action of the role player / system that you are using for the ePortfolio to be created and assessed, and then take these actions to business. Then focus on building YOUR ecosystem.


Here is the clincher, many training personal will contend that the eAssessment is expensive, ePortfolios are difficult to build and the human assessor is not a viable strategy because they are costly.

Yet businesses will tell you that their supervisors and managers already “assess” the workers through performance reviews (quarterly, or bi annually), the ePortfolio is an amazing idea because photo’s, videos and completed checklists are an easy way to show compliance and competence, AND the 1000’s of highly skilled over 55 retrenched workers, are not expensive  and more than willing to provide their expertise, at a fraction of the costs of a young inexperienced MBA consultant. This is an epic opportunity for training to finally be able to get closer and solve business needs.


Darryn Van Den Berg is a thought leader in the Assessment of Learning and Recognition of Prior Learning discipline. He has over 25 years of experience in design and implementation of formal, non-formal and informal learning assessment strategies.

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