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Learning spaces and e-portfolios

June 21st, 2010 by Graham Attwell

There is an interesting interview with Rob Arntsen, the CEO of MyKnowledgeMap in the latest edition of the Eifel newsletter. Rob was asked to describe his vision of ePortfolios.

“We believe that the term is perhaps too general and becoming overtaken by events as the learning technology market evolves. On one hand I prefer the concept of a person’s individual learning space, such that the individual is in control of what they identify as their tailored learning space, which embraces their social networking space and which allows them to showcase and to grant access selectively.

On the other hand, for obvious reasons, the historic trend behind e-portfolio development has been driven by institutions to primarily address institutional interest in delivering a solution in this area. That requirement is still valid, and so we need to see the concept that allows the “bridge” between an individual in control of their own learning space and the institution’s valid need for some form of consistent method of interlocking with their students learning processes. This is why we are developing Learning Slate, which is an open source development, initially with Hull University and JISC.

……The changes we have seen in the e-portfolio market are many and varied. There has been the growth in use of significant open source solutions such as Mahara, the merging of reflective style portfolios with competency orientated assessment, and the linkage with assessment. I also am starting to get the feel that this space is becoming more important than the traditional LMS/VLE product and may perhaps take centre stage at some point. Generally we are seeing more interest in video content and e-book content alongside other content, and indeed the close integration of video and e-books within e-learning and assessment objects.

Perhaps the most dramatic and rapid change has been the very strong interest in mobile phones, especially smart phones and related technology. I suspect this will continue to evolve quickly with the advent of the i-pad and similar devices.”

Rob’s idea of a learning space is similar to the Personal Learning Environments we have described on this site. And Rob is right when he says “the historic trend behind e-portfolio development has been driven by institutions to primarily address institutional interest in delivering a solution in this area.” But I am not sure why he says this requirement is still valid if students are in control of their own learning in their own learning spaces.

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