CanMEDS Scholar
Documenting Learning

Documenting Learning



One of the best ways of documenting learning, is to keep a portfolio. Portfolios are becoming more and more common in


medical education. Some residency programs will require residents to keep portfolios to document learning activities. Portfolios are becoming standard in residency education, because there are many different components to resident feedback and assessment.

A portfolio is a collection of work and evidence that learning has taken place. Portfolios can link curriculum and assessment;  connecting what is expected and what is done. [2][1] These collections of documents can be individualized and tell a personal story of a resident’s growth through residency. Keeping a portfolio can be valuable for career planning, and can promote reflection.

Portfolios do have a downside. They are work to maintain and can be found demanding. Residency programs that require portfolios for residents may have administrative support available.



Things you might want to include in your portfolio:

Angela Cheung 2011
  1. Assessments of observed skills (e.g. mini CEX)

  2. Procedure log

  3. Completed online CanMEDS modules

  4. Documentation of simulation experience

  5. Research abstracts, articles and presentations

  6. Rounds presentations

  7. Teaching activities (consider starting a teaching portfolio if you are interested in medical education)

  8. Curriculum vitae

  9. Conferences and courses attended

  10. Learning activities - difficult cases and reading log or reflections on difficult cases.


Tips for keeping portfolios:

  1. Add to it and revisit it regularly, without letting long periods of time go by

  2. Ask a mentor for their guidance and opinion

  3. Let it represent who you are, and your particular strengths

  4. Start now!

  5. Be proud of it!

Portfolios are not just for artists or stocks any more!


1. Friedman Ben David M, Davis MH, Harden RM, Howie PW, Ker J, Pippard MJ. AMEE Medical Education Guide No. 24: Portfolios as a method of student assessment . Medical Teacher.2001;23(6):535-551.

2. Challis M. Portfolios and assessment: meeting the challenge. Medical Teacher.2001;23(5):437-440.

All references for this section