How useful are structured electronic portfolio templates to encourage reflective practice?

Med Teach. 2013;35(1):71-3. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.732246. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Background: Some specialties in the U.K. use structured templates in electronic (e) Portfolios to encourage reflective practice. This study looked at completion of an 11-field template by U.K. Paediatric specialty trainees.

Methods: A reflective ePortfolio log from all paediatric specialty trainees in one large U.K. deanery was assessed by two medical educators. The consultant supervisors' opinion of the trainee's standard of reflective practice and outcome of annual review of competence progression was noted.

Results: If the 115 trainees, 10 had no reflective logs and 105 had reflective logs ranging in number from 1 to -18 (mean of 5). The structured template was poorly completed by trainees especially sections on what could be done differently and outcomes for the trainee, parents and others. Discrepancy between the evidence of reflection in ePortfolio and trainers assessment of reflective practice was noted.

Conclusion: An 11-field structured template for reflective practice was not completed well. We suggest four fields as a maximum so as to enable trainees to reflect and note their personal key learning points. There needs to be an emphasis on quality rather than quantity of ePortfolio reflective logs, both in number and length of log aiming for 1-2 well completed reflections per post.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Documentation*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / education
  • Students, Medical
  • Thinking*
  • United Kingdom
  • User-Computer Interface*