From this week, more than 2000 Counties Manukau Health nurses can complete their Professional Development and Recognition Programme process (PDRP) using an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) system called Mahara. Initially all nurses – and eventually all CM Health staff – will be able to access their portfolios online.
The ePortfolio system was developed by Ko Awatea’s Building Capability team and forms part of its workforce development and Flexible Learning Strategy for CM Health. The new nursing “ePDRP” is the first of the new ePortfolio initiatives to rollout and can be accessed directly through Ko Awatea LEARN using existing login details. The new system will be supported by learning materials built into LEARN.
What is an ePortfolio? Nurses, through the PDRP process, use portfolios to show aptitude, skill, competencies and knowledge. In this way, ePortfolios are used as contemporary digital collections of professional and educational evidence to display an authentic body of work. Many different professional groups use ePortfolios in a similar way.
The benefits of ePortfolios are multifold. “They simplify the way users collect and store their personal evidence. Users can view, edit and upload their portfolio evidence from work or home, on mobile or desktop devices at a time of their choosing. The user has full control over the content”, says Learning and Technologies Advisor Denis Mc Grath, who is leading the Flexible Learning Strategy.
In a nutshell, ePortfolios:
- are very easy to use;
- offer personalised flexible learning;
- make assessments much easier and more convenient;
- allow anytime, anywhere access to a portfolio;
- offer personalised flexible learning;
- concentrate evidence in one place;
- allow quick selection and sharing of information;
- significantly reduce delays by cutting the risk of missing evidence, time consuming transfer of paper and lengthy assessment cycles.
For Dianne Barnhill, Post Registration/PDRP Lead, the system “is very easy to use and allows nurses to efficiently demonstrate lifelong learning and professional development”.
“Primary and secondary school students are increasingly developing ePortfolios as a learning tool and as a way to showcase and celebrate their unique bodies of work. Giving CM Health nurses this capability will align nicely with what our new nurses have been doing in their pre-employment years. Moving from the current paper based PDRP process to a digital version has the ability to store and retrieve information that you can easily access anytime, anywhere. The assessment process also becomes more efficient and effective,” adds Clinical Nurse Director Michelle Nicholson-Burr.
Additional benefits – As part of the rollout of Flexible Learning of ePortfolios, CM Health hopes to encourage, over the longer term, the facilitation of open, social and collaborative learning. This will stimulate more interaction and cooperation between staff, managers and wider Communities of Practice, as well as promote more autonomous, reflective and self-directed learning for the end user.
Rollout – Initially, the Mahara ePortfolio system will only be accessible for nursing staff to use for their PDRP. To facilitate nurses in learning the new system, nurse educators and approved PDRP assessors will receive education (via training-the-trainer events) on how to use, access and assess ePDRP submissions. Nurse educators will then be available to help nursing staff as and when required.
From the 27th of July until early 2018, there will be several roadshows held across CM Health – initially at MSC, Awhinata, Pukekohe and Waiuku, with Middlemore following in September – to support staff in accessing and developing their ePDRP. The roadshows are drop-in sessions where staff can receive individualised one-to-one coaching and setup support for their ePortfolio site.
From the rollout until January 2018, nurses will be able to submit either a paper-based portfolio or an ePortfolio, but from the new year all nurses will be expected to submit their portfolio electronically.
Allied health staff will be the next group to have access to Mahara ePortfolio, followed by other areas of CM Health.