For this report I consider the selection of an eportfolio system for a scenario which draws on some elements from my work but which fictionalises a number of aspects.
The navy of a European country wishes to expand its training programmes using a range of distance and e-learning techniques. Among their requirements are the need for aneportfolio to:
- Record student progress on tasks to provide evidence for certification
- Record student actions in tasks for formative assessment
- Allow students to develop and reflect upon a record of their competencies for use in personal development planning (including identifying future training needs)
- Integrate with current systems including a VLE, and potential future systems such as synthetic training environments
- Accessible by mobile phone/handheld device
- Consider security of data - hosting should be by the client organisation.
The requirements given above lead to a number of possible system, dealt with here by requirement.
Requirement 1. All systems offer a way for students to record progress, although not all are tailored for assessment. eNVQ, Mahara, MyStuff and One File all support assessment or are particularly designed for it.
Requirements 2 and 3. These point to a need to support student reflection, and for others (e.g. tutors) to be able to offer formative feedback via comments.Mahara, MyStuff and PebblePad are particularly tailored to support reflective learning.
Requirement 4. The need to integrate with potential future (i.e. as yet unknown) systems is very open ended. Mahara can integrate with the Moodle LMS, and as it is open source, its code can be inspected to consider its appropriateness for future integration.
Requirement 5. Mobile access is necessary for trainees working in the field, and may be provided by MyStuff and PebblePad, but not currently Mahara.
Requirement 6. Mahara and MyStuff both offer the facility for the client organisation to host eportfolio data within their own secure network.
Given this analysis, an open source solution (Mahara or MyStuff, for example) may be most appropriate for a number of reasons:
- Specific requirements mean current off-the-shelf solutions all have shortcomings
- In-house developers are available to deliver a customised solution based on an open source system
- Unknown future requirements can be met by subsequent development.
* The full activity requirements were:
Consider the following issues:
- the primary users of each system (i.e. higher education, schools, PDP, industry)
- any unique or particularly desirable features from the point of view of the learner, teacher and organisation
- the most appropriate system for this context, given the type of use you intend.