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BMC Med Educ. 2017 Nov 10;17(1):202. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-1045-6.

Electronic portfolio use in pediatric residency and perceived efficacy as a tool for teaching lifelong learning.

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Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Expected M.D. 2018, 1 Bluxome Street, Suite 205, San Francisco, CA, 94107, USA.
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Program Director, Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Pediatric Residency, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH, 03766, USA.



Residency programs use electronic portfolios (efolios) to organize data, track resident performance, and sometimes teach and assess lifelong learning (LLL) skills. Published studies on efolios in graduate medical education are mostly descriptions of implementation at individual institutions.


An anonymous online survey was sent to 199 pediatric residency program directors across the United States. Efolio usage patterns were described and compared between program directors that perceived efolios effective at fostering LLL and those that did not.


Surveys were completed by 82 of 199 program directors (41%), and 55% used efolios. The 20% (9 of 45) of program directors that believed efolios were effective at teaching LLL more often used self-assessment (88% vs. 50%, p = 0.05) and goal-setting (75% vs. 40%, p = 0.03) functionalities. Common efolio challenges included limited usability and difficulty integrating data. Most non-users (65%) would like to invest in efolios.


Respondents reported technical and convenience-related challenges to efolio use, which need to be addressed for efolios to meet their potential as valuable learning tools. The use of self-assessments and goal-setting features was associated with program directors' perceptions that efolios were effective at fostering LLL.


Competency; Electronic portfolio; Goal setting; Individualized curriculum; Lifelong learning; Self-reflection

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