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This Wiki entry covers Product Based Assessment and its place as an Educational Venture Market. A more expansive analysis with rich media content is found at

This week’s group will focus on [potential] ventures in learning technology that focus on the art and science of product based assessment (PBA). Our intention is to begin by defining the educational significance of PBA, followed by exploration into the who and how of PBA today. As a cohort, we’ll then consider a potential venture in PBA and how it could be sold.


In the world of education and learning, assessment is oft discussed and debated. Assessment is sometimes seen as synonymous to evaluation, while at other times they are considered as a very different tools in the educator’s toolbox. As an introduction to the topic, this group has taken a stance on defining and breaking down product based assessment for the purpose of this week’s discussions. The suggested readings are for those that would like more information on each of the topics.

Product Based Assessment (PBA) Defined

We can understand the concept of Product Based Assessment through its component terms:

  • Product: in a learning context, a product refers to something that is created by the learner. In comparison with a traditional exam or quiz, a product is actively created by the learner as opposed to being a tool passively used by the learner to show evidence of his/her learning.
  • Assessment: assessment refers to the instructor gathering evidence of the learners’ achievements in learning. The goal of assessment is to understand the learners’ place in relation to the objectives as defined by the instructor. Effective assessment for learning requires a feedback loop that should involve the both the instructor and learner. For more information on the art of authentic assessment, read Authentic Assessment from the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge.
  • Evaluation: evaluation uses a combination of assessment (evidence gathering) and judgement. Typically evaluation takes place against a standard (be that a rubric or any other set of pre-defined criterion). For a brief summary discussing assessment and evaluation, read Assessment vs Evaluation from the Columbus State Community College.

Assuming the definitions of assessment and product are accepted, product based assessment becomes the gathering of evidence of learning through learner created products, likely with the intention to evaluate the outputs. The key to product based assessments through the use of technology is the focus of this week’s work. (For background reading on online learning, read pages 37-39 of Toward a Theory of Online Learning which focuses on the challenges of assessment centred learning.)

Two concepts related to this are Outcome Based Assessment and Performance Based Assessment:

  • Outcome Based Assessment: outcome based assessment (OBA) is similar to product based assessment in that instead of focusing on the how of assessment, outcome based assessment focuses on the importance of the outcome of the learning.
  • Performance Based Assessment: similar to PBA and OBA, performance based assessment focuses on assessing the skill that is performed (often resulting in product). For more information, read pages 2-8 of Performance Assessment in an Era of Standards-Based Educational Accountability from Stanford University.

PBA as a Venture

Throughout this week, we will ask you to not only consider the theoretical underpinnings of product based assessment, but also how this concept or tool could be transformed into a venture. Consider the following questions as you work through the week’s activities:

  • How could I sell this concept through educational technologies?
  • What is the product?
  • How would such a venture enhance learning?

Key Words for the Week

Existing Ventures


Product based assessment (PBA) is very much an emerging market with a few players and ventures involved. Here we will take a look at who is on the market (the ventures) and who is using them.

The use of PBA stems from pedagogical reasoning and a desire for authentic and efficient, if not pragmatic, form of assessment. As an emerging market, PBA ventures are targeted towards institutional educational contexts and smaller independent situations such as a teacher’s classroom. The typical end user of a PBA product would be the teacher-student interaction. Like many EVM, PBA must generate appeal to both a buyer and a user, since these two are quite often not the same. As surveyed right now, PBA appears to be most popular in post-secondary education with K-12 schools playing a smaller role in the development and deployment of the market.

In order for PBA to grow as an EVM, it needs to fill a need and meet functional requirements. Research indicates that this is happening through a few different modes. It can address complex learning outcomes and help motivate students (Moallem, 2007). As well, PBA is seen as being grounded in real-life situations where it can stimulate instruction that leads to long-term interdisciplinary learning outcomes (Fantegrossi, n.d.). The student-teacher interaction is further enhanced through reflective processes that can occur during a PBA cycle (Fantegrossi, n.d.; Moallem, 2007). Students are given the opportunity to reflect upon their learning while the teacher reflects on both their teaching and the curriculum.

Although PBA is in itself an approach to assessment as opposed to a product, the act of PBA can be accomplished through a number of existing Web 2.0 tools or centralized or decentralized intranet technologies. There are both free and paid tools that support PBA, and there is a wide range of complexity — some are suitable for one-off assignments while others can help students to organize artifacts from throughout their school year or academic career. (Through MET you have or will end up experiencing both of these as a student.) Furthermore, there exist tools and services that support or enable PBA functionalities.

PBA for Courses / Institutions

  • e-Portfolios

e-Portfolios are the most ubiquitous and comprehensive Product Based Assessment tools used in both K-12 and post-secondary education. They are covered in more detailed on the e-Portolio page.

  • Pebble Pad

Pebble Pad is touted as a Personal Learning Space used in many different contexts including schools, colleges, universities and professional associations. Users create “assets”, including action plans, meetings, activities, thoughts and experiences. Pebble Pad enables collaboration and communication, which supports peer review and evaluations.

  • iSocrates Assessment System iSocrates is a web tool that helps educators create rubrics for evaluation, projects or presentations, set weighting of items and select comments from drop-down menus.


Markets a variety of tools for assessment for 21st Century Learning and Project Based Assessment.

  • Blogs

Blogs can be used extensively for a variety of Product Based Assessment schemes. Blogs are typically built around a content management system (CMS), and they are utilized to deliver projects, assignments, reflections and even can be used as the basis for an e-portfolio.

PBA for Assignments / Single Artifacts

  • Voicethreads

Voicethreads allow for collaborative audio voice recording that can be utilized in several different ways, including debate projects, expository research and reflective commentary. For an example in:

High school science:
Elementary school:

  • Webquests

Usually distributed through various website building tools, there are no webquest-specific tools on the market. For an example of implementing a webquest using the free service weebly, please see an example for the MET program:

  • Web2.0 Tools

There is a growing number of web2.0 tools available that can be used for PBA. These products include:


A comprehensive list of other web2.0 tools is available here:


The most ubiquitous use of PBA is found through e-Portfolios. They are popular in both K-12 and post-secondary education because they enable learners to create or assemble tangible examples of their skills and knowledge, and are reflective tool that allow students to measure their own growth. For adult learners, these can even be useful for getting a job or getting into other academic programs. e-Portfolios can include a range of media types, and encourage learners to synthesize their projects and progress into meaningful evidence of their growth and learning.

e-Portfolios enable product based assessment by allowing learners to incorporate not only an exhibition of work (artifacts) but also a reflection on the artifact and learning process. It is this reflective aspect that differentiates e-Portfolios from other web2.0 PBA tools.

There are both free and paid products and services associated with e-Portfolios. The following highlights a few of the ways e-Portfolios are being used around the world today.

Mahara Mahara is an open source e-Portfolio system developed in New Zealand as a collaboration between the New Zealand government and a number of New Zealand universities. The goal is to provide a learner-centred environment that integrates with Moodle 1.9 and above…

Career ePortfolios for students at New York City College of Technology

New York City College of Technology’s Career ePortfolio aims to bridge the gap between education and the workforce with an e-portfolio program that enables students to use basic WYSIWYG environments and templates to set up portfolios highlighting their professional goals and examples of their work related to those goals. The e-portfolio also includes a standard resume, and students can connect their course work to their career or academic goals. The program has been running since 2002.

Cloud ePortfolios at Stanford The cloud computing trend is visible in the world of e-portfolios as well. The PrPl (Private-Public) e-portoflio application being developed at Standford by Professor Monica Lam allows users to bring together artifacts from a number of locations and establish viewer-specific access. “It is a collaborative and semantically indexed data management system which functions as a simple index of data that users may already have stored in other services. PrPl therefore allows users to continue to take advantage of the free storage services—the PrPl infrastructure then serves to present ‘a unified, location-agnostic view of the data in a user’s personal cloud’ (Seong et al, 2009)” (Kim, P., Ng., C., & Lim, G., 2010).

Vocational: Australian Flexible Learning Framework The Australian Flexible Learning Framework began in 2005, funded by the national and state governments in Australia, to provide the vocational education and training sector (VET) with “with e-learning skills, development opportunities, resources and support networks to meet today’s increasingly technology-driven learning environment” (reference). One of the tools the organization heavily endorses and supports is e-portfolios. In the group’s VET E-portfolio Roadmap, they aim to establish national standards that will support a nation-wide inter-operable e-porftolio system. They aim to “establish an operating infrastructure which supports individual state and territory requirements while delivering national portability and verifiability of learner information” (p. 1). By creating standards for a nationally-use tools, the group hopes to support student transitions between programs, institutions, and into the workforce.

Google Sites There are many examples of e-Portfolios created using Google sites. The appeal of using a cloud-based service such as Google Sites is the incorporation of Google Docs, which creates a complete ecosystem of website functionality and active/live integration of the reflective process.

Google Sites Examples:

Other Web Services

e-Portfolios are not restricted to any particular webspace provider or content management system. Many different products and service providers are used to create e-Portfolios. Following are a few examples of the tools, and e-Portfolios using those tools:

( WordPress:

Service Providers

In addition to product ventures in e-portfolios, there is a small existing market of service prodviders for Product Based Assessment. As an Emerging Market, the service sector for PBA appears to be small at this time. Various training and professional-development ventures exist, set up to help people create their own e-Portfolio systems.

Dr. Helen Barret

Dr. Barret has a strong internet presence with the academic and professional work she has done on developing e-Portfolios for K-12 and post-secondary education.

My eCoach

Provides insight and development into educational topics including creating e-Portfolios. Barbara Bray is currently the Professional Development Chair for Innovative Learning Technologies at ISTE.

Future Ventures

This conclusion gives examples of the emerging market potential of Product Based Assessment. As discussed in this project, PBA is a pedagogical theory that is used as a basis for the PBA products and services. Based on the research and examples accross the web, the PBA emerging market is beginning to split in two directions.

PBA profit and non-profit products like e-portfolios, student blogs, student wikis, cloud computing (, computer games, educational Apps and student m-portfolios can be defined as the PBA “product” market. These have been clearly defined by Barrett, Batson and others as the future of PBA.

The second emerging market is defined as the PBA “service”. Profit and non-profit consultants, speakers, conferences, books, E-learning companies, associations, Ed Tech Blogs, Ed Tech wikis and Ed Technology University programs, offer the PBA pedagogy to the world.

It is this educational opportunity that makes PBA possibly one of the most powerful and influential markets to be watched to date because it exemplifies authentic learning. Hopefully, the pedagogical context behind PBA will foster support for all global learners to participate in the new technology. Ironically, it is a education led business opportunity, with sound beginnings, that may transform the world.

Emerging Market PBA Products


Journals are a product that can offer different viewpoints on Project Based Learning. This journal, The International Journal of e-portfolios, offers insight into the effective uses of e-portfolios in the classroom. Their goal is to, “encourage the study of practices and pedagogies associated with ePortfolios in educational settings…” Current issue

Other journals with research based on PBA:

Article Writing

This article uses e-portfolios and PBA as the basis for their story. The article becomes a product when the author is paid for their services. A Survey of the Electronic Portfolio Market Sector: Analysis and Surprising Trends – Trent Batson


Books are a product that can focus on specific types of PBA, or they are able to give a general overview of the topic.

E-portfolios see e-Portfolios


M-portfolios offer the newest cutting edge version of the “e-portfolio”. Dr.Helen Barrett is leading the vision into m (mobile)- portfolios.

Computer Gaming

Emerging Market PBA Services

Speakers/ Consultants

These people are a few examples of people who offer consulting/teaching or guest speakers services based on PBA.



These private educational companies are offereing distributed learning service solutions internationally with different PBA foundations.

  • Knewton – Adaptive and Personlized Learning
  • – Teaching “BC Brand” High School credit online courses
  • Dr.Helen Barrett – Teaching Educators about the future of e-portfolios

University Programs: (These are just a few…..)

Blogs Blogs and wikis offer a service of distributing PBA ideas because of the unique perspectives of the writers. The following list offers a wide selection of “EdTech” savvy bloggers and wiki creators who offer the mix of well written educational material with advertising and product services to mix educational services and a products.


Thank you for spending a week learning about the emerging market of project based assessment.