The reflection stage is what makes your collection of artefacts and evidence a portfolio rather than a scrapbook. Reflection provides depth to the breadth of our artefacts and evidence and is a process of making sense of or extracting meaning from experience (Cloward, Hawkins, & Black, 2003)
Artifacts: represent or symbolize what you know or can do
Reflections: reveal how you think and what you now know and understand.
Once you have your artefacts collected and sorted, you begin to make and include reflections in your efolio about these artefacts. These reflective pieces adds two powerful insights to your efolio:
- a clear understanding of who you are because you share how you make sense of your experiences. Reflections analyze and interpret your artifacts for others.
- an openness to exploring alternatives and to plan-to synthesize the relationship of your educational past, present and future.
Reflection helps you explore the following questions:
- What are my positive attributes? (Understanding yourself)
- What does it mean to be thinking about my experiences?(Understanding reflection)
- What happened? What does this mean to me? (Reflecting on experiences)
- What kind of a learner am I? (Reflecting on yourself as a learner)
- How can this help form where I am going? (Using reflection to understand and plan)
- How does this fit into my efolio? (Articulating your understanding and plans)
Helen Barrett, a well-respected pioneer of efolios, provides helpful reflection about reflection.
In the reflection stage you can use the efolio to be more actively involved in assessing your own learning and to reflect on coursework, special projects, and life experiences. The power of reflection turns the collection into evidence of a deeper learning experience.
Finally, examine the examples of efolios provided while asking yourself:
- Is reflection incorporated?
- What depth of reflection is used (practical, ethical, critical, transformational)?
- Why might there not be any reflection?
- What challenges does reflection present?
- What do you think of the collection of samples without reflection?
Now apply the same questions to your own work.