Digital learning portfolios at MSLOC

The Master’s in Learning and Organizational Change program at Northwestern University has used digital learning portfolios to support student learning since 2015. These personalized sites are intended to help students to develop their professional identities, learn, collaborate with peers and demonstrate skills to employers or clients.

Our use of digital learning portfolios expanded in 2017-18 thanks to funding from the university’s Digital Learning Fellowship program. This site serves as a central hub for much of the activity resulting from those efforts.

We invite you to explore our students’ exemplary work and join their learning journey.¬†

Why digital learning portfolios?

Our students are experienced working professionals developing the vision, knowledge and confidence to lead strategic change in all types of organizations. Each is on a journey to become Рto add something new to their professional capabilities that enhances their impact as a change leader.

Digital learning portfolios contribute to this journey by providing a space to shape and sharpen thinking, to test the ability to engage in new areas of professional conversation, to reflect, and ultimately to showcase new thinking and work products.

Each portfolio is a personal public WordPress site comprised of blog posts, short articles and resources that represent a unique story about becoming a particular type of professional.

The public and digital nature of these learning portfolios is an important element of our approach to teaching and learning. We recognize the tension created by asking experienced, adult learners to “learn out loud” as well as to produce showcase work products in a public space. And to continuously develop new digital media skills as they figure out how to navigate that tension. But this challenge contributes to our goal of developing reflective leaders who have insight into an evolving digital landscape.

The course: Authoring Your Professional Self

Authoring Your Professional Self is a self-paced, online course available to all MSLOC students who develop digital learning portfolios as part of their graduate program experience.

The course focuses on developing the variety of skills we have learned to be key to reaching the outcomes we envision. We cover the basics of using WordPress as a publishing platform for our learning portfolio purposes. We then provide support and insights on developing a personal digital space that is part documented learning journey and part professional showcase. Activities and blog post prompts are designed to reflect on program course content and to develop each individual’s professional voice. We also encourage peer feedback, contributing to our program norm of sharing and learning as a community.

Making our work open

Parts of the course are visible here: Prompts for writing blog posts (The Reflection Pool), resources, showcase examples (Spotlight), and blog posts aggregated from across our network of digital learning portfolio participants (Perspectives).