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Learning from an evaluation of an electronic portfolio to support general practitioners' personal development planning, appraisal and revalidation

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This article describes some of the key features of a small-scale qualitative evaluation of an electronic personal development portfolio for general practitioners (GPs) and the learning that resulted from the study. Twenty-three GPs agreed to trial the portfolio but only eight actually used it and only five succeeded in mailing us their reports over a three-month period. In spite of the small numbers, the users were able to help us to assess the feasibility and added value of the portfolio for its purpose. Details are given of how the portfolio was used and the reports that resulted. All 23 GPs provided data in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of the portfolio and suggestions for its improvement, and gave us information about GP attitudes towards personal development planning, continuing professional development (CPD) processes employed, use of IT and the barriers to use of electronic versions of support tools. Some of the issues raised, such as understanding of clinical governance and critical incidents, are relevant to all health professionals, managers, educators and researchers, as well as to the producers of electronic portfolios.

Keywords: APPRAISAL; CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT; EVALUATION; GENERAL PRACTITIONERS; PERSONAL LEARNING PLANS; PORTFOLIO-BASED LEARNING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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