Open Folio (1992 - 2007): From Learning Portfolios to Research Communities

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As Wenger (1998) postulates, communities develop around things that matter to people. But how do we know what matters to those who may be outside our immediate circle? Who should we be talking to and who should be talking to us?

This paper documents the evolution of an on-line learning portfolio and collaboration system for designers. Openfolio is a web-based tool for reflective design practice and portfolio development with over 3000 members representing 140 design businesses and institutions in 26 countries. The system encourages designers to reflect on their motivation, capabilities and experience by documenting portfolio evidence. It provides a searchable skills exchange forum to support the formation of communities of practice.

Through this open portfolio system each learner presents a rich collection of attributes and expertise that represents their learning journey and through which they can align and engage with others. This has been supported by recent system additions that have enabled the growth of focussed research community groups. Each group provides a topic 'hub' for cross-organisational virtual collaboration whilst also disseminating the work of the group via Internet search engines with a view to attracting other expert collaborators.

The paper concludes by summarising how the development of e-learning portfolios can contribute to and support the informal evolution of research communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnected 2007
Subtitle of host publication1st International Conference on Design Education
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherUniversity of New South Wales
ISBN (Electronic)9780646481470
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2007


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