Electronic portfolios to enhance the learning experience of scholars at private tertiary institutions in South Africa

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Mapundu, Michael Tonderai
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Vaal University of Technology
The purpose of this study was to investigate the use electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) in private tertiary institutions in South Africa to enhance the learning experience of scholars. The study adopted an interpretive ontological stance and subjective epistemological stance as the researcher sought to understand how-portfolios can be used to enhance learning. The focus was on understanding people in a social setting though employing field research to collect and interpret data. Action research, in this case employing a pre-test, intervention and post-test limited to a single cycle, was selected as strategy. The empirical part of the study was conducted during the first semester of 2014 (January to May) at a private tertiary university in Gauteng, South Africa. A pre-survey has been conducted before implementation and a post-survey after the implementation of e-portfolios to test the attitude of the participants, where after the results were compared. The pre-test was administered before creating e-portfolios and the post-test towards the end of the semester after developing and maintaining e-portfolios. Questionnaires were used to obtain information such as the attitude of the respondents on learning, assessment, reflection, collaboration and interpersonal communication through the use of e-portfolios. Questionnaires served as the main data collection tool throughout the survey. The sample was selected from first and second year students in the Information Technology faculty, with the sample size n=48. The researcher further collected data through observing subjects and conducting group interviews that were recorded to augment the questionnaire approach and verify the results through triangulation. The questionnaires were distributed to the participants who were given thirty minutes to complete. Responses were made using a five-point Likert scale and open-ended questions. The response rate was outstanding as all 48 subjects participated in the study. The researcher used a mixed-methods approach for this study; SPSS 22.0 was used for quantitative data analysis and thematic analysis was employed for the qualitative data. Reliability for quantitative data was determined using Cronbach’s alpha. Regression analysis was done as well as correlations to determine relationships and associations. To further cement relationships, t-tests and Spearman’s correlation coefficient were employed. Trustworthiness for qualitative data and justification for credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability were discussed. The results revealed that e-portfolios could be used effectively at private tertiary institutions to enhance the learning experience of scholars as evidenced by the significant statistics obtained in this study.
M. Tech. (Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences), Vaal University of Technology.
E-portfolios, Scholars, University, Tertiary institutions, Academic performance, Web 2.0 technologies, E-learning, Artefacts, Information Technology