There are times in the life of every student when it feels like they are not making any progress or producing anything tangible. At times like this, it can be helpful if a student can look back at the assignments and studies they’ve undertaken over their period of education. They can get a sense of achievement and perspective, or at least a better idea of where they stand.
Many institutions even require their students to create a portfolio as they proceed through their training. These portfolios are an aid to personal reflection and retention. They help students reflect and review their development, reflecting on strengths and identifying areas for growth. The portfolio can be used outside the learning environment, to demonstrate skills and job qualifications. A portfolio is an equally useful for instructors, who can use it to determine how well their students have developed essential skills or retained information. A collection of student portfolios can show (sometimes more clearly than raw test scores) just how well an existing curriculum works.
These benefits apply equally to e-Learning. In a study published by Kapi`olani Community College in Hawaii in 2007, the faculty compared the experiences of students who made use of an e-Portfolio with those who did not. The study concluded that students who actively used the e-Portfolio and were encouraged to engage with it showed marked improvements in several areas, including:
- Critical thinking
- Level of engagement.
Teachers also found the availability of the e-Portfolios as a tool changed the way they presented their curriculums.
Despite these benefits, e-Portfolios are often overlooked in the development of an LMS. Or, if it exists, they are deployed as an adjunct to the LMS, on a service existing outside the core solution.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
At Remote-Learner we integrate our solution with Mahara, which is an open-source web application used for building electronic portfolios. Mahara integrates easily into your LMS to provide learners and educators with a place to demonstrate their learning, skills and development, and achievements. Mahara is mobile-ready, and can be accessed by your users from any device.
With a Mahara integration, your faculty members can develop their own e-portfolios to model and assist student learning. Digital artifacts, including visual models, theoretical interpretations, reflective journals, and artistic work, photographs, video, and multimedia productions are showcased in an organized way within the e-portfolio.
Students can develop a collection of e-portfolio pages for each course, which form a rich and robust body of work over the course of the program, providing concrete evidence of the development of critical knowledge, awareness and competencies over time.
Mahara permits the creation of a personal online space. It allows users to track progress toward learning and certifications, and to record badges, coursework, awards and diplomas. And, it is not simply an internal tool. A Mahara portfolio can be shared with instructors, peers, prospective employers, or admissions officers. It belongs to the user.
Moving up from the individual level to that of the class or learning community, Mahara also permits collaborative, social learning with the creation of shared project portfolios with group forums. These community-oriented tools increase the visibility of learning and increase student engagement.
Remote-Learner is committed to connecting you with impactful solutions that allow your users to get the most from your content. Contact us today to learn about adding Mahara to your LMS, or check out a free demonstration of Mahara in action.