Kineo Pacific worked closely with open source gurus, Catalyst IT, to establish the Mahara open source ePortfolio project and helped guide its development in the early years of the project.
What is an ePortfolio?
An ePortfolio is a learner-driven collection of digital content demonstrating experiences, achievements and evidence of learning.
ePortfolios provide learners with a structured way of recording their learning experiences and work history.
A first guiding principle with the development of the Mahara ePortfolio system is that it is learner centred – a form of Personal Learning Environment. This is in contrast to the more organisation-centric Learning Management System (LMS).
Mahara’s architecture is inspired by the modular, extensible architecture of Moodle. Mahara is a ‘pluggable’, modular eportfolio system designed to leverage Web 2.0 web services and built with interoperability in mind.
It is one of only a few ePortfolio systems that are fully compliant with the LEAP2A interoperability specification.
What does Mahara do?
Mahara includes many features to support a range of ePortfolios and the creation of online learner communities:
- Free open source software
- Designed by educators alongside open source experts
- Manages, stores and displays media-rich content
- Users have the ability to select who will see their information and in what format
- Showcases accomplishments
- Flexible Resume Builder
- Social networking for learner communities
- Group collaboration tools
- Template sharing
- Supports multiple languages and themes
- Supports multiple organisations on a single installation
- Flexible, “pluggable” architecture
- Interoperable with Moodle, Totara and other learning and training platforms
- Import and export using open standards.
Why use an ePortfolio?
ePortfolios can be customised and personalised into a one-stop-shop to demonstrate skills and experiences to teachers, trainers, peers and employers. Learners who have used ePortfolios report having a greater awareness of their skills, greater confidence in their abilities, and feeling more independent as learners. ePortfolios are becoming popular globally as a tool to enhance learning, record achievements and assist with personal career development.
The process of creating an ePortfolio can assist learners and employees to:
- Develop a holistic overview of their learning, experiences and development beyond individual classes
- Understand their learning and experience in terms of work readiness
- Extract evidence to demonstrate their learning and achievements
- dentify skill gaps through review and reflection of their ePortfolio content
- Plan, set and review personal development targets.
Skills development and ePortfolios
Our ability to build a competitive workforce depends on being able to apply a range of work-ready skills. The creation of an ePortfolio encourages learners and employees to consider their training and experiences in a broader career development context.
ePortfolios can assist with a range of activities, including:
- Recruitment and appraisal processes
ePortfolios can enhance the quality of job or promotion applications, and streamline the recruitment and candidate appraisal processes.
- Training needs and career planning
An ePortfolio can assist in the identification of skill gaps and training needs, enabling targeted employee development plans and more efficient use of training budgets. Most career services and ePortfolio practice share the same goal; presenting evidence of skills, reflecting on experiences and planning for future career opportunities.
- Continuing professional development
A growing number of professional associations are using ePortfolios to provide evidence of attaining professional standards. For example, it is becoming popular for teaching and nursing practitioners to provide evidence of their experiences and reflective self-assessment to gain registration using an ePortfolio.
- RPL (recognition of prior learning)
The process of collecting evidence of learner and employee achievements for formal RPL documentation can be streamlined and made more efficient through the use of ePortfolios.