This Study has looked mainly at how technology is used at the start of building a Digital Identity in supporting employability.
An interesting strand of this work we have been looking at is how that Identity is maintained and developed over time to make, maintain and develop a Digital Reputation.
It follows that where these identities are clearly formed, owned and carried away from college and universities and managed as part of tracking ‘a professional life on-line’. There are some Professional Bodies that provide an on-line portfolio to members.
One of the advantages of personal technologies is that it can be carried from one episode of learning to the next, giving the owner the opportunity to thread them together into a narrative that can have direction around skills or interests, needs or targets. Over time, through looking at the bigger, wider picture, a commentary, narrative or pattern can emerge that describes the journey so far, forms ideas and makes suggestions for the next step, and provides a sense of coherence to the journey so far and onward path.
For others, the ‘bag of bones’ approach might work, whereby items are added as they occur that are then metaphorically poured out on the table to see what messages can be read from how they fall. Revelation can be just as enlightening as a more measured and managed approach.
In terms of professional bodies who bring a discipline to its members’ learning journey, they are able to suggest particular training episodes or themes or attributes that must be assigned to what is done. They may also suggest minimum time or effort requirements and ask for evidence of particular outcomes. They can talk to colleges and universities about starting this process early and outlining initial starting points for what they would like to see.
Two things have emerged as part of this strand of the Study:
Firstly we don’t need to use a technology that integrates with host technologies but keeps separate, perhaps even aloof from other learning technologies. There is a strong case to keep the personal portfolio quite separate so that the owner can dive into the pools and waterfalls of the enterprise of learning, but go to the quieter waters at the side occasionally to reflect and summarise in the quiet places.
Secondly, using personal portfolios draws the owner into an inevitable state of managing their own learning and making conscious decisions about ‘what I want to do next’. This is hugely important in taking responsibility for personal development and ‘doing’ training because it is a positive choice.
The question then is what holds back professional bodies from using technology to promote member ownership of its members’ development and how can colleges and universities start this as a new ‘habit of a lifetime’?