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Are Resumes Obsolete? Cultural Trends Favoring ePortfolios

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013

March 28th, 2012

Even for those of us comfortable with change, especially change regarding education, the pace of change is almost bewildering.

Three items of note:The hegemony of the resume may be over in favor of an online profileRecognition of prior learning, or prior learning assessment (PLA) is gathering steam.  The "Google-izing" of our culture and expectation of ready evidence. At Wende Garrison's site, Out of Practice, I noticed one of her posts that was an aha! for me:  Portoflios Preferred In Job Hunt?  In her post, she referred to an article at ResumeBear, "Are Resumes Obsolete?"

And in that article, another reference was to an article in the Wall Street Journal in January.  Both articles referred to new online ways that employers are getting a more authentic profile of job candidates. 

However, for me, a source of frustration was to read about companies who ask candidates to submit a set of links to online evidence for use in their review process, and to realize these companies had no idea there was such a thing as an eportfolio.  I've talked to two vendors this week who each support the online employment process in one way or the other.  It was clear they both have a market opportunity.

For us in AAEEBL and in academia, what I think is significant is how much our culture is evolving in ways that invite the growth of the eportfolio market, and also, in an important way, how much the knowledge culture is "training" everyone to expect, expect, evidence of claims. 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is related strongly to the open educational resources movement OERs).  MIT is best known for, but hardly alone in, providing "Open Courseware."  Learners can acquire important knowledge and abilities from many sources.  This is not new, but what is new is the real possibility that learning outside the academy may now result in certification and employment. 

Last Friday, at the AAEEBL regional conference in Providence, RI, Empire State College presented on PLA, a world-wide phenomenon.  Particularly now when so many formerly employed people are changing to a new career, PLA has blossomed.  I heard today of an application that supports PLA (more about that in another blog).  I can see PLA, badges, OpenCourseware (and its kin) all coming together with many other forces to create a path for alternate credentialing either inside the academy (i.e., self-paced learning) or outside. 

Academia is subject to cultural forces as never before.  Either it adapts quickly to what is developing as a "perfect storm" of alternate credentialing, or it will suffer. 

The Google-izing of our Culture

It seems now that many of us are not satisfied to accept, on the face, cliches or supposed truths or assumptions or unsupported claims.  We turn to Google.  "Let's see if that's true or not."  I personally have had to re-learn foundational (but unchallenged) beliefs I've held for years.  Small beliefs, like why leaves change color in the fall.  Since a kind of answer is an instant away, it is now easy to seek evidence for almost any statement or claim.  Google has trained us to expect evidence. 

This habit of turning to evidence has made us all eportfolio-ready. 

Years ago, I wondered if our hype from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s was mere talk.  Suddenly, we have moved so far beyond any hype I could have imagined, I go around in perpetual astonishment.  Seeing such broad swings in consciousness and expectations and practices at the cultural level alerts us to look beyond the campus. 

We need to stop thinking "education" and start thinking "learning."  Learning is a broader enterprise where, yeah, it is happening. 

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