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Med Educ. 2001 Dec;35(12):1125-30.

Portfolios as a learning tool in obstetrics and gynaecology undergraduate training.

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Development and Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.



We developed a structured portfolio for medical students to use during their obstetrics and gynaecology undergraduate training. The main objective was to support the learning process of the students. We also wanted feedback information to enhance teaching.


The study population consisted of 91 medical students who completed the portfolio during their training course. The portfolio consisted of a 28-page A5-size booklet. The students entered all the clinical procedures they had performed and all the deliveries they had attended. After each group session, they answered questions about what they had learned and evaluated the performance of the teacher. They also indicated their general evaluation of the course and the portfolio itself. The teachers listed the 13 most important skills to be learned during the course. The students were asked to evaluate their own development on a scale of 0-5 before and after the course. A content analysis was performed on all the texts the students produced, and all quantitative variables were coded.


The amount of text written in the portfolio correlated (P < 0.001, F-value 4.2) with success in the final exam. In addition to acting as a logbook, use of the portfolio enhanced the learning process during the course. Students' attitudes towards the portfolio were mainly positive. Students appreciated the departmental interest in their learning process.


Portfolios support the personal and professional development of medical students. A portfolio clarifies the learning goals and helps students to monitor how these goals are achieved. A portfolio encourages constant self-reflection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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