The appropriateness and feasibility of an online e-Portfolio for assessment of undergraduate allied health students

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Abstract

Background/aim:

Online technologies are widely used in tertiary institutions for both learning and assessment. There is a paucity of research into the use of e-Portfolios for assessment in the field of occupational therapy and other allied health disciplines. This study aimed to determine if a new assessment platform, using a flexible online learning platform, PebblePad™, is appropriate and feasible for use with allied health university staff and students in their first and second year of study.

Methods:

A mixed methods approach was employed in two phases, before the development of a new assessment (Phase 1) and after completion of the new assessment (Phase 2), aimed to generate a comprehensive analysis of the appropriateness and feasibility of the new assessment platform. Inductive thematic analysis was used to investigate participants' focus group responses in both phases. To assess learning outcomes survey responses were analysed using t-tests, and descriptive ratings of the assessment and current use of online platforms were extracted.

Results:

Triangulated results indicate that the assessment did not meet all five domains of appropriateness. Negative experiences and a lack of social and ecological validity were attributed to the PebblePad™. The PebblePad™ was not feasible, requiring extensive support in implementation.

Conclusions:

While PebblePad™ did not meet all domains of appropriateness and was not feasible, students reported learning gains after completing the assessment, suggesting that content may be more important than the assessment platform. More rigorous research is needed to determine the best online platform for assessment in the allied health disciplines.

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