Description of the product
EPASS is the acronym for ’Electronic Portfolio and Assessment Support System’ and it is the joint product of Mateum and Maastricht University (the Department of Educational Development & Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences). The system is implemented as a web-based system (SaaS solution) to support the learning and assessment of professionals on the workplace. In 2009, the first EPASS portfolio was configured for postgraduate training (paediatrics and gynaecology). In the meanwhile, EPASS has been deployed to 18 specialities in postgraduate training, undergraduate training at 4 universities in The Netherlands, fellowships and other (healthcare and non-healthcare) educations (for example nursing, law, teacher training). At the moment, EPASS has more than 30,000 user accounts.
EPASS provides users with insight in their competence development by digitally supporting (workplace based) assessments, storing user data, and providing user specific feedback by aggregating data in a meaningful way. EPASS stands out from other e-portfolio providers by the fact that it is the joint product of a strong collaboration between software developers, educational developers and health care professionals. This multi-disciplinary approach makes it possible to come to a new generation of e-portfolios that:
- generate visible and tangible evidence of how users are progressing on different development domains. It is eminently suitable for continuously monitoring, discussing and assessing student learning;
- continuously monitor development and provide possibilities for benchmarking the development (longitudinal progress overviews are visualised on individual- and cohort level, and one can focus on specific moments or outliers during the education track).
- have the most up-to-date assessment toolbox, e.g. Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), mile stones, multi-source feedback, field notes, progress testing, etc.
- provide modern, reliable and safe web based portfolios with a functional interface that’s also suitable for mobile devices;
- combine the advantages of a generic system with the possibilities to adapted to the specific requirements and features of any (healthcare and non-healthcare) profession and/or other sectors, such as HRM and higher education in general.
Our experience is that in order for a portfolio to support the learning process, it is important that the system is tailored to the users’ wishes and needs. To see if this is the case, scientific research is conducted by Maastricht University. This is one way ensure the quality of EPASS.
One of the results from scientific research is the following:
Previous studies stated that portfolio assessments showed good interrater reliabilities, this was diametrically opposed to findings in other domains and to the prevailing view that portfolio assessment by definition would be subjective and therefore unreliable. The use of portfolios stimulates reflective skills and the development of clinical and equally important other skills. Moonen et al. (2013) concluded that workplace-based assessments for postgraduate medical education showed good reliability with prognostic added value, based on a workplace-based assessment toolbox derived from EPASS unlike widespread variable results of studies on validity and reliability of these tools from other portfolios.
Learning Analytics is important for EPASS because it better supports students and supervisors in workplace based learning. Students collect a lot of feedback from teachers, staff members and supervisors and create reflection forms and other kind of evidence. All this information can be used as input for a learning analytic tool to give pedagogical/educational insights in both progress and trend development. The data in the portfolio can also be used by an LA-tool to generate new view for program directors in order to improve their curricula.
More information can be found at www.epass.eu
Unique Selling Propositions
- As EPASS is developed in collaboration with Maastricht University, scientific knowledge and technical expertise is linked with daily practice in order to facilitate and improve learning and assessment processes. The EPASS team consists of clinicians, educationalists and IT developers, in which they closely work together in order to develop and optimise the portfolio system based on scientific views and evidence-based insights. As a scientific institute, Maastricht University provides knowledge about the theoretical concepts regarding Learning Analytics.
- EPASS can support and improve the assessment and learning process on the workplace. However, each education is different and a portfolio can play a different role in each education. In order to really improve the assessment and learning process, the portfolio should fit the education and daily practice. Therefore EPASS is a custom-made electronic portfolio, tailored to the users’ wishes and needs. This allows us to achieve our primary goal: giving professionals the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities.
Maastricht University (www.maastrichtuniversity.nl) is founded in 1976. It is the most international university in the Netherlands, standing out for its innovative approach to learning and international outlook. The Department of Educational Development and Research (EDUC) in the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences has been the cornerstone of the educational innovation at Maastricht University, especially in the area of Medical Education. Research in Education is the research program of the department and consists of an approximate 35 researchers and some 50 PhD students.
Mateum (www.mateum.nl) is a software-company situated in Maastricht (The Netherlands), that uses her knowledge of operations research-techniques and ICT to provide solutions for scheduling- and optimisation problems. Mateum has a strong focus on the Healthcare market. Mateum offers several standard software-products, but also develops custom-made software.
Since 2010, Mateum and the Maastricht University (Department of Educational Development & Research of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences) have established a partnership in order to develop the electronic portfolio system ‘EPASS’. More information can be found at www.epass.eu.
Joyce Moonen-van Loon, Karlijn Overeem, Jeroen Donkers, Cees van der Vleuten, Erik Driessen. Composite reliability of a workplace-based assessment toolbox for postgraduate medical education, Advances in Health Sciences Education. 2013; 18(5):1087-102.