An electronic portfolio or ePortfolio is a generic term encompassing as wide a range of types and products as there are reasons for using them. The simplest starting point is to consider an ePortfolio as an extension of the paper based-portfolio, bringing with it the obvious benefit of making a portfolio of evidence portable and shareable anywhere that you have Internet access – "the new generation of the three ring binder" JISC My World Project Final Report, Roberts. 2006
In fact, an ePortfolio has a much broader scope as an online collection of reflections and digital Artefacts (such as documents, images, blogs, resumés, multimedia, hyperlinks and contact information). Learners and staff can use an ePortfolio to demonstrate their learning, skills and development and record their achievements over time to a selected audience.
"ePortfolios ... are personal online spaces for students to access services and store work. They will become ever more useful as learners grow up and start moving between different types of learning and different institutions" Secretary of State for Education and Skills, UK, January 2006.
They have the potential to provide a central, linking role between the more rigid, institution-led learning management system and the learners’ social online spaces.
There are sound applications for the learner, the teacher, the institution – and sometimes combinations of the three. A teacher and learner for example can be one and the same person, with differing requirements from the same ePortfolio. It can be used to create collections of artefacts to share with fellow students, peers, family and friends, to present to potential employers and to complement applications for research funding. In short, it is an online space from which to manage your life, learning and goals.