Learning Portfolios

Learning Portfolios

All members of our learning community are encouraged to create and curate a portfolio.

Portfolios are a story of an individual’s learning and their relationship with learning. The main goal of a portfolio is for each individual to be able to visualize and be an active participant in the process of how, why, and when they learn; this engagement with self-directed learning builds agency and critical thinking. Each portfolio is a carefully created subset of a person’s work created over time with care and intention. 

Portfolios are built and curated throughout the year.  The portfolio process is an iterative one and therefore occurs throughout the year and builds over the course of the years.  

Learning occurs in many settings, at different times, and in various forms. As a community, we honor this fact and support varied learning styles, contexts, and needs. One of the ways we highlight and support the unique learning needs and choices of each person is through the use of individual portfolios. 

Portfolios represent the uniqueness of learning and are a form of documenting the metacognitive development and reflection process of each learner. Through the awareness of and understanding of their thought processes, individuals form a relationship with how and why they make decisions, what they learn, and what next steps or projects they wish to engage in. This self-awareness supports not only their self-directed learning and self knowledge but also their engagement with the world around them. Portfolios tell a unique and meaningful story. 

The process starts at the beginning of the year. Each individual is asked to reflect on their work, to engage in self assessment and goal setting. These authentic skills, practiced and repeated often, support individuals as they explore their identity, independence, and interdependence.

Each individual is asked to begin collecting learning experiences and moments that are valuable and of interest to them. As portfolio artifacts are accumulated, each person is asked to begin a process of investigation and self-reflection upon the meaning of the artifacts and the story they tell. With the help of portfolios, teams and individuals bring to life their learning journey and its meaning and purpose in their lives.

There are no set number of portfolio artifacts required in each portfolio. The selection of items is a personal choice and is based on the criteria set by each individual. Examples of artifacts in portfolios: reflections on books read, art work, video, audio or 3D projects, explanations and explorations of problems solved, experiences had, or lessons learned. 

Each individual sets the time and form of creating, entering artifacts into their portfolio. The process of a fluid and flexible one that allows for personal choice. Portfolio teams are formed to support each person in their process. 

Portfolio teams meet at least four times a year to support the metacognitive process, organization, and presentation of each portfolio. At the end of each year, the Without Walls Learning Co-operative showcases all portfolios and engages in a communal presentation and interactive process with our collective learning and growth that year. 

Portfolio teams are made up of the portfolio creator, who selects a teacher, a family member and a peer. The team’s purpose is to support the inquiry process of each artifact and to provide input and engagement with the portfolio’s creator. Each individual makes time for portfolio time on their own schedule. 

– A pile of work accumulated over time to prove learning as a product
– A final product that signals learning can stop