This is the process a trainee goes through when building a successful portfolio of evidence:
The visualisation above includes setting objectives, taking part in activities such as assessments and reviews, and reflecting on practice. Needs analysis refers to the part of the process where a trainee looks at what they have achieved so far and thinks about what they might need to do next.
It's with this cycle in mind that we have designed FOM Portfolio Builder, the online portfolio system for occupational medicine. This article will introduce you to how to use FOM Portfolio Builder to successfully build your online portfolio of evidence.
Trainees may be anywhere on the training cycle or even in more than one place on the training cycle at any given time, but for the sake of picking a starting point, let's assume that you are at the beginning of your training or training level and need to start setting objectives.
Your online portfolio contains a Personal Development Plan (PDP) which, when you add them, will contain your PDP Items. Here are some of the functions we have included to help you build your PDP in the online portfolio system.
- Add, edit, delete PDP Items
- Map PDP items to competencies
- Mark PDP Items as complete once they have been achieved
- Comment on PDP items
Your PDP items stay in your portfolio until you mark them as complete and the commenting function is available to both the trainee themselves and anyone who supervises them.
To help our users navigate their way around tasks, we have created some step-by-step guides including screenshots. Check out our step-by-step guide called: Add a PDP Item and Map it to a Competency to find out more.
As far as the ePortfolio is concerned, activities can be anything you put in your portfolio. Assessments, reports, meeting notes, reviews and any uploaded documents are given the generic name 'activity'.
We realise that no two training experiences are exactly the same which is why we have included features which help trainees build a successful ePortfolio that is as individual as their training. Once activities have been created, they can be organised using folders, categories, tags & mapping. Here are some useful guides to help you build & organise your specialty training ePortfolio.
- Request a Workplace Based Assessment (WBA)
- Add activities using a proforma or free text
- Map activities to your PDP items and to competencies
- Upload documents already created
- Start a Multi-Source Feedback Assessment (MSF)
- Add an activity as a 'followup' to another 'activity'
- Add a new training level folder
- Request reviews & reports
- Add a career entry for a post
- Tag activities with keywords relevant to you or your organisation
- Categorise activities
Once you have started building your portfolio & organising your activities, the search and filtering features in FOM PortfolioBuilder can be used to find activities easily.
Reflecting on your work is good practice and reflections can be added to the portfolio in the same way as any other activity. Just start typing 'reflection' as the activity name, and select the reflection proforma from the drop-down box.
Some trainees might want to make a reflection a follow-up to another activity, or indeed do a follow-up from a reflection. As with all activities, reflections can be kept private meaning they cannot be viewed by supervisors until you want them to. This is ideal when an activity is still in draft format.
Deciding on the next steps to take in your specialty training may not be a decision you make alone. It may come as part of reflecting, as part of a review meeting with one of your supervisors or following an ARCP.
The online portfolio system provides you with some tools to facilitate assessing your training needs:
- Reviews - regular supervision meetings and the ARCP can all be done through FOM PortfolioBuilder, so that you have all the documents you need to make an informed decision as to what your next objectives could be in one place. The follow-up feature can be used to connect relevant activities together to clearly demonstrate that one activity occurred as a result of another.
- The Portfolio Card - the specialty training portfolio card gives you, supervisors & anyone else with responsibility for monitoring the progress of specialty trainees an at-a-glance view of how much evidence you have, and how much of the curriculum you have covered to date. The portfolio card can be found on the dashboard of every trainee's account.
- The Curriculum Coverage page - this gives more detailed information than the portfolio card and shows evidence as it is mapped to a curriculum. This helps trainees and supervisors identify gaps in curriculum coverage and set appropriate targets. Curriculum coverage can be found on the activities page.
- The PDP Coverage page - this gives information about how the evidence a trainee has collected satisfies the PDP items they have in their Personal Development Plan. The PDP Coverage page can be found on the activities page.
A detailed description of the types and levels of evidence required at each stage of training within the spiral curriculum are provided within Section 4 of the FOM Training Handbook.