PORTFOLIOS FOR LEARNING AND RE-CREDENTIALING FOR PHARMACISTS
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of pharmacists using learning portfolios as part of continuing professional learning and re-credentialing in Saskatchewan. This study sought to describe the learning experiences and activities of the participants, and their perception and experience of portfolio use as part of their learning experiences. More specifically, the study focused on the participants' use of the learning portfolio as a self-assessment tool. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 pharmacists who participated in a pilot study investigating the use of learning portfolios in the province. Participants' portfolios and other printed matter relating to participants' experiences were also used in this study. The information obtained was analyzed to identify categories and themes emerging from the participants' experiences. Results showed that participants learned via instruction from continuing professional education programs, and from self-initiated personal inquiry and experiences. Participants' learning efforts were directed by their professional goals and interest, and moderated by situational factors. While participation in educational programs helped participants to keep up-to-date, maintain a broad knowledge base, and meet re-licensing requirements, learning through personal inquiry and experiences were directed by meeting workplace needs. Participants understood self-assessment to be a self-reflective process whereby they identified their personal strengths and weaknesses, and evaluated their progress and achievements. Difficulties with self-assessment occurred when participants did not have sufficient knowledge in the subject matter, or when they did not know what the larger professional community expected of them. Participants were initially anxious and uncertain about learning portfolio use. These feelings abated with continued use of the learning portfolio. Participants indicated no changes in their learning activities with portfolio use. The only change was to record their learning into a portfolio, rather than to collect continuing education units from participating in educational programs for re-credentialing purposes. Participants used the learning portfolio primarily as a record to showcase their learning activities. Majority of the participants did not use the portfolios actively for self- assessment, although when reporting according to the portfolio format presented, they had to identify their learning needs and evaluate their learning outcomes. Difficulties with portfolio use were related to the novelty of the process, re-credentialing context, discrepancy between individual reporting style and portfolio format, and time constraints. Benefits of portfolio use resulted from the need to account for one's learning in writing, reporting according to the portfolio format presented, and the recognition of a wider range of learning activities for re-licensure.
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Pharmacy and Nutrition
Pharmacy and Nutrition