Year : 2021 | Volume
: 48 | Issue : 2 | Page : 65--67
Ensuring successful implementation of portfolios in medical institutions: Potential challenges and solutions
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,
1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit, Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
The portfolio refers to a collection of documents supporting learning over a period of time and essentially includes reflection on learning. The present review was carried out to explore the practices required for the successful implementation of portfolios in a medical college set-up. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine, and a total of nine articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. To ensure that the tool of portfolio facilitates learning, it is essential that the intended objectives should be made clear to both the medical student and the assessor. The successful introduction and implementation of a portfolio in a medical college are determined by a number of factors, and any medical institution planning to introduce portfolio within their settings should give due consideration to them. In conclusion, portfolio is an effective tool for documentation of learning in the period of medical training. However, to ensure that portfolios are successfully implemented, it is a must that the administrators remain dedicated toward it and encourage both teachers and students to actively participate in the same.
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ensuring successful implementation of portfolios in medical institutions: Potential challenges and solutions.J Sci Soc 2021;48:65-67
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Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ensuring successful implementation of portfolios in medical institutions: Potential challenges and solutions. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 30 ];48:65-67
Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2021/48/2/65/324075
The portfolio refers to a collection of documents supporting learning over a period of time and essentially includes reflection on learning. The portfolio developed by a student can be used for selection, assessment, or certification, and in the long run, establishes the roots to become a lifelong learner. The maintenance of a portfolio by an undergraduate or postgraduate medical student has been acknowledged as a crucial approach to monitor learning and assess the professional growth and attainment of competencies., Even though a portfolio directly does not assess the “Does” level in Miller's pyramid, the evidence collected to document the learning indirectly plays an important role in making this level of learning visible. To ensure that the tool of portfolio facilitates learning, it is essential that the intended objectives should be made clear to both the medical student and the assessor.,, The present review was carried out to explore the practices required for the successful implementation of portfolios in a medical college set-up.
An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine. Relevant research articles focusing on portfolio implementation in medical education published in the period 2000–2021 were included in the review. A total of 10 studies similar to current study objectives were identified initially, of which, one was excluded due to the unavailability of the complete version of the articles. Overall, nine articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. Keywords used in the search include portfolio implementation and medical education in the title alone only. All the articles published in the English language were only selected for the review. The collected information is presented under the following subheadings, namely factors affecting successful implementation and remedial measures, role of administrators and infrastructure, illustration of successful implementation of E-portfolio, implications for practice, and implications for research.
Factors Affecting Successful Implementation and Remedial Measures
The successful introduction and implementation of a portfolio in a medical college are determined by a number of factors, and any medical institution planning to introduce portfolio within their settings should give due consideration to them., The first and foremost factor deals with the two most important stakeholders, namely the student and the teacher. In traditional mode of teaching, the process of learning is teacher-centered and the teacher becomes the sole deciding factor for the knowledge transfer.,, On the contrary, the maintenance of the portfolio is a student-centered activity, and thus, there are challenges with regard to the role reversal, and thus, there might be resistance from both teachers and students, who are used to the conventional style of coaching by teachers.,,
It is an obvious fact that the successful adoption of any new innovation or curricular reform will be achieved, if they have a sense of ownership and thereby support it., In that regard, it is important to sensitize the faculty members about portfolio before its introduction and take their inputs for consideration. From the students' perspective, they should be sensitized about the need and scope of portfolio and the ways it can be useful for them., In fact, they will be more interested to maintain portfolio, only when they get some kind of acknowledgment for the same. This acknowledgment can be either in the form of its periodic assessment (both through formative and summative) or linking department faculty members with it, who keep a constant supervision and tends to motivate the student to continue the practice and explain to them how it can be made better.,,,
Role of Administrators and Infrastructure
The next important factor deals with the extent of commitment by the administrators and the management. It is quite essential to ensure that the portfolio should be user-friendly and feasible, and thats why the introduction of E-portfolio should be advocated in all the settings.,, More often than not, it has been observed that it becomes difficult to sustain the portfolio after its introduction and that has been primarily because of the lack of technical infrastructure. These administrators should not only arrange for the required resources and infrastructure (such as a portal for electronic portfolios and technical support) but also advocate the same among all faculty members., Another important factor for sustainability is that the students and teachers should experience the direct benefits of the portfolio over the years.,
Illustration of Successful Implementation of E-portfolio
In Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, a constituent unit of the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, E-portfolios have been introduced since 2016 for all the postgraduate courses. To ensure its successful implementation, all the faculty members of the institute have been sensitized about E-portfolio and how they can facilitate learning. For the sake of newly joined postgraduates, every year, a workshop is organized by the Medical Education Unit, and periodically, their technical issues are also sorted out. In addition, it has been envisaged that each postgraduate student has been assigned to one faculty member, who is the supervisor for the E-portfolio of the candidate and thus the learning is facilitated.
Further, with an intention to motivate the postgraduates to update their E-portfolios, a quarterly review is being organized by the members of the E-portfolio committee. In these periodic reviews, a panel of experts assesses the E-portfolio of postgraduate students with reference to five parameters on a scale of 10, namely entrustable professional activities, periodicity or regularity in updation of E-portfolio, faculty comments and response to the same, updating the details of dissertation, and updating details of academic activities well supported with evidence. Subsequently, the scores of experts in the panel are averaged and a mean score is given to all the students. The best performing department and the three best performing students are given certificates by the Dean of the institution to encourage them to continue their existing practices. All these initiatives have been taken to enhance learning and ensure active engagement of postgraduate medical residents.
Implications for Practice
The decision to implement portfolios within the medical institution is an initiative which requires lots of considerations and planning, especially if it is in the electronic version. The study version of maintenance of the portfolio does not require much technical or administrative assistance as a student is expected to just record, reflect, and store the evidence for the learning. However, in case of electronic portfolios, the administrators have to invest a lot for technical support and creating a portal for all the medical students. Once the technical set-up is ready, the Medical Education Unit can sensitize both faculty members and students about the options available in their E-portfolio account.
Organization of a workshop is a much better initiative as both the stakeholders will get a hands-on experience about the way to go about it. The technical team can create a number of pages (such as journal clubs, seminars, daily log, case presentations, awards and recognitions, research, and extracurricular activities) in the portfolio account for the student, and the resource person can train the participants about the ways in which evidence can be uploaded and maintained. It is extremely essential that students are oriented about the need to reflect upon their experiences, as these reflections only will represent their learning throughout the training period. The institutions can ensure successful implementation by allocating some marks for the act of regularly maintaining portfolio and including the same in internal assessments that get eventually added to the final score of summative assessments.
Implications for Research
The introduction of portfolio in any medical institution, especially in the electronic form, is a novel thing, and there is immense scope of research activities. The research activities can be in the form of a qualitative or mixed methods study design, wherein the opinions of the students can be elicited with regard to the pros and cons of maintaining portfolios in a focus group discussion. In addition, the research activity can also be targeted with an objective to ascertain how writing reflections have helped the students to monitor their learning progression and the role of faculty members as mentors in the entire process. The findings of the study can be used to take remedial measures, in terms of the content of the sensitization program or the guidance required for the students to be continually motivated toward the act of maintaining portfolio on a regular basis.
In conclusion, portfolio is an effective tool for documentation of learning in the period of medical training. However, to ensure that portfolios are successfully implemented, it is a must that the administrators remain dedicated toward it and encourage both teachers and students to actively participate in the same.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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