E-Portfolios in Teacher Education 2002–2009: The Social Construction of Discourse, Design and Dissemination

Aug. 01, 2010

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 33, No. 3, August 2010, 309–322.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to explore how e-portfolios have been communicated, designed, and disseminated within teacher education courses at this particular university from 2002 to 2009.

The study addressed to the following research questions:
● How can the design of e-portfolios be described and understood in relation to teacher educators understanding and communication of e-portfolios?
● How can the dissemination of e-portfolios in the context of teacher education be described and understood?

The participants were 67 teacher educators from five departments in the faculty of teacher education at a Swedish university. Twenty five participants took part in semi-structured interviews. The other 42 participants completed a digital questionnaire.

Data were collected through narrative interviews, questionnaires, course plans and study guides.
Thematic content analysis was used to structure the data, after which theory was used to analyse the defined themes through the helix of hermeneutics.


This study has illuminated a weakly framed context regarding pedagogical methods that is strongly classified concerning teacher educators, teacher teams, courses, subjects and departments which does not facilitate the social construction of a common understanding of e-portfolios.

Within these teams, teacher educators’ understanding and former experiences of portfolios contribute to the process of construction.

The discourse and design of learning and assessment portfolios represent an integrated educational code.
Teacher educators and student teachers are generally socialised into a collection educational code that requires student teachers to produce, and teacher educators to assess, final products.

However, teacher educators advocating the use of portfolios for learning find themselves in a situation where they need to explain and justify their understanding and use of e-portfolios. Hence, the wider dissemination of e-portfolios for supporting the learning process has been limited in this teacher education institution.

In conclusion it can be seen that e-portfolios are shifting colours, depending not only on purpose and design but also teacher educators’ understanding of e-portfolios, the e-portfolio discourse that teacher teams can agree on, the context itself, the outcome of the struggle between educational codes, and the very course of time.

Updated: Nov. 21, 2012