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Portfolio use for documentation of personal and professional growth gained outside academia

Nijolė Burkšaitienė (Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Margarita Teresevičienė (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Ligija Kaminskienė (Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 17 May 2011




The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the issue of bridging the gap between the labour market and university through recognition of non‐academic learning.


The purpose is achieved by proposing portfolio use for documenting adults' personal and professional growth as part of their learning outcomes gained through non‐academic learning, including informal learning, work‐based learning and non‐formal learning that occurred outside one's workplace. To gain insights into the use of the portfolio for documenting adults' personal and professional development through different learning environments qualitative/content analysis was used, with the focus on the descriptions of adults' learning outcomes according to Carter's taxonomy. The study involved 11 portfolios drafted by candidates having claims for academic credits in a management study programme at Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania. A learning format combining a portfolio development seminar followed by online consultations was created by the university; it was aimed at supporting candidates seeking academic recognition of their learning outcomes gained outside academia in exploring their non‐academic learning experience.


A structured portfolio and, more specifically, the portfolio based on Carter's taxonomy used as a tool for empowering the candidates has highlighted three important aspects of their learning claim, i.e. personal qualities, skills and knowledge as acquired in the non‐academic environment and built the basis for proof of personal and professional development in line with the requirements of existing university modules.

Research limitations/implications

The research is not intended to compare the taxonomy of personal qualities, skills and knowledge against any specific curriculum requirements; rather, it should be subject to further discussion. The research is based on one of the very first attempts to introduce a validation procedure of non‐academic learning and thus bears limitations of a pilot project.

Practical implications

A clearly structured portfolio of learning outcomes enables adults to highlight important aspects of their learning claim and match their proof of learning in line with the university requirements for academic credit.


While portfolio has been frequently identified as an effective tool for learning, assessment and professional development in higher education, little known research has focused on the use of portfolio as a tool for documenting adults' learning outcomes gained outside academia.



Burkšaitienė, N., Teresevičienė, M. and Kaminskienė, L. (2011), "Portfolio use for documentation of personal and professional growth gained outside academia", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 245-262.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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