Updated: Aug 12
We found this incredible article by the writers of Bulb Digital Portfolios about the importance of digital portfolios. We thought we should share it with our audience and followers to emphasize the importance of utilizing how students and professionals can use this method of communication to showcase their skills and talent.
Gathering, creating and sharing content has become a part of everyday life in the digital era. New tools and platforms have gained popularity, specifically, the digital portfolio. Typically known for being a place for creatives to showcase their work, other industries are realizing the skills gained from creating a portfolio and the benefits. It allows anyone to collect information from thousands of apps and sources. The digital portfolio movement is gaining momentum as the new space to show what we’re learning and working on. Here are the top three reasons why everyone needs a digital portfolio.
1. Digital portfolios help develop soft skills. According to OECD’s Future of Work, the two most important skills individuals can develop are soft skills and digital skills. Why are these skills so important?
Soft skills – include communication, working in teams, leading, problem-solving, self-organizing and critical thinking.
Digital skills – include using technology in creative ways to reach goals and the ability to assemble information from multiple sources (Skills for the Future eBook).”
In the workforce, “today’s employers are increasingly shifting towards skills-based hiring and promotion policies that reward individuals for their specific, demonstrated skills instead of signifiers of skills such as years of experience”, says CEO of Credly, Jonathan Finkelstein
In education, measurement of student competency is changing. Standardized tests are becoming outdated, and educators are looking for more meaningful differentiators than test scores and GPAs. There’s been a shift to creating personalized learning plans, promoting individuality, and giving students the creative freedom to apply their skills and passions. Digital portfolios help develop soft skills because they require people to articulate their experiences and present them in a way that is easily digestible to others. It gives individuals the opportunity to reflect on projects, goals and track growth over time. With a portfolio, it’s less about what school you attended or how many years of experience you have. A portfolio puts emphasis on how we think and what we can do.
2. Digital portfolios tell your story. Portfolios have opened up ways to showcase potential. Using online resources and multimedia tools, we can tell our whole story with a digital portfolio. Though a digital portfolio requires extra effort, creating one invites more career opportunities throughout your life. By keeping a digital portfolio throughout your career, you’re able to document your full professional story. Digital portfolio users have found it helpful to document (The Muse):
Interviews – Share thoughtful answers to frequently asked questions.
Performance reviews – Keep track of completed tasks, assemble projects and use multimedia to show work.
Promotions – Display accomplishments and document outcomes to prove work ethic.
So when it comes time to search for other opportunities, they have already captured their full story in a dynamic and beautiful way. Their job application will help them stand out above other applicants who only have a resume.
3. Digital portfolios encourage reflection. With reflection comes growth. The practice of reflection is ideal and critical for those who want to expand learning. You’re able to address your mistakes and make room for improvements. You can also take a step back to brainstorm alternative solutions, helping you expand your understanding.
The Harvard Business Review describes reflection as giving “the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions.” Expanding the mind through reflection challenges it to take on greater tasks, which leads to other benefits. Reflection allows you to believe in your greater potential – as a result, it propels growth and brings you closer to your goals.
Examples of using digital portfolios for reflection:
Director of Secondary Social Studies, Dr. Montra Rogers, from Houston Independent School District, uses digital portfolios to coach teachers. She encourages them to document specific events or to share insights from the classroom. They use portfolios to provide better feedback to one another, track their growth and to tell success stories to larger groups.
Creative and digital marketing leader of Prophet, Mat Zucker, and his team use digital portfolios to keep track of past work and to meet new objectives. “Portfolios curate your best stories to impress and convince the prospective client or employer that you are brilliant and can tackle things as in the past, but for them in the future,” says (Mat Zucker).
The skills gained from creating a digital portfolio benefits everyone, not just creatives. These are the skills today’s employers are looking for and the skills educators are teaching. Evidently, the global need for digital portfolios is being realized. More and more people are creating one to reveal these three benefits and almost always find that there are many more.
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