4: WSI Story

Case Study Description

TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute (WSI) is a registered training organisation which provides vocational education and training to more than 114,000 students every year in around 1,000 Australian Qualifications Framework courses.  WSI started using e-portfolios in their Hairdressing program in 2009 and are currently using the Mahara e-portfolio system which is externally hosted by FolioSpaces. Since 2009, WSI has supported the wider adoption of e-portfolios into other teaching areas, including Information Technology, Business Administration and their Staff E-learning Capability Development program called 'eLF'.

The WSI E-portfolio Implementation Model, Lessons Learned, Key Recommendations, Reflections and Guidelines are displayed below.

E-portfolio Implementation Model

Taking a 'learner-centred' approach

WSI has found that the use of an e-portfolio in their training and assessment is providing a better 'learner-centred' approach by enabling learners to easy access their learning anytime, anywhere.  The e-portfolio is allowing learners to regularly upload into the one place, making it easier for them to manage their work.  Being able to share their evidence with their trainer/facilitator and others means that learners are getting regular feedback and support.  Learners are also being encouraged to use their e-portfolio to support their application for jobs. 

Learners are supported to quickly establish their e-portfolio through an induction, ongoing support and the use of templates to populate with their evidence.

WSI also uses e-portfolios in their staff e-learning capability development program, called eLF, to support the reflection process, and offer their staff a way of applying for RPL for the e-learning learning units in the Diploma of Training & Assessment.  This is providing staff with the experience of using an e-portfolio as a learner, and is seeing greater uptake of e-portfolios within their organisation as a learning and assessment tool.

WSI's use of an externally hosted e-portfolio system means that they do not have to worry about having internal e-portfolio technical support or expertise. This does, however, require that some WSI staff are able to administer their 'institution' or segment of the e-portfolio system, as well as trouble-shoot technical issues.

Lessons Learned

E-portfolios help

  •    demonstrate their skills when applying for a job
  •    prepare their resume (using the resume builder)
  •    progress to higher qualifications
  •    better manage and take more responsibility for their own work
  •    undertake their training from anywhere and at anytime
  •    better prepare evidence from informal learning experiences like staff development for RPL
  •    participate in peer to peer learning, and provide peer support

  • better monitor their learners' progress through being able to regularly access learners' work and provide feedback

Key recommendations

  • Ensure learners regularly take a 'back up' (or export) their work in case of system issues
  • Ensure the e-portfolio system allows users to share their information with other people (other than the assessor)
  • Provide learners with an induction to the e-portfolio system as well as ongoing support
  • Seek regular feedback from the e-portfolio users about their experience
  • Provide teachers/trainers with the opportunity to use the e-portfolio system as a 'learner' and 'play' with the system before they use it with their own learners

Media Gallery

WSI E-portfolio Implementation Webinar Interview

Nayomie Baihn and teachers from Western Sydney Institute provide answers to a series of interview questions about how WSI implemented Foliospaces for their learners.

Webinar Interview [link to recording in Blackboard Collaborate]

WSI E-portfolio Highlights and Extensions

Fiona Noyce, Terry Singh and Jennifer Munro from Western Sydney Institute share models of e-portfolio usage with the goal of motivating and supporting learners in managing their learning evidence. 

WSI E-portfolio Highlights and Extensions transcript

WSI E-portfolio Highlights and Extensions [movie]