Monday, September 10, 2007

Mahara (open source) PLE

I discovered Mahara while doing some research on Personalised Learning Environments (PLEs) and e-Portfolios. Mahara emanates from New Zealand and means 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Māori. It is a "fully featured open source electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online communities." It stands out from many others in its aim to be more student-centric.

Mahara has an impressive range of tools designed to allow users to "demonstrate their life-long learning, skills and development over time" and the ability for users to select and control who can see their Artefacts. Discussion around a Roadmap about self assessment grids is worth following. Check the lernenzwei 'GPS for Learning' project for more information.

Mahara features include a file repository, blogging tool (creation of Artefacts), all important social networking capabilities and a résumé builder. All Artefacts have built-in metadata to aid discovery. Check the website for more technical considerations.

Another area of interest is the JISC (UK) SPLASH project in higher education which aims to "provide a more personalised learning experience....and ... management of artefacts," developed by the creative efforts of learners using popular Web2.0 mashup technology.

David Delgado's posting "On E-learning 2.0 and the Personal Learning Environment (PLE)" provides an excellent visualization and definition of a PLE as "systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning, they are distributed, social and learner-centric." He uses another open source product, Elgg (which I have experimented with in recent years)and complements this with a range of Web2.0 tools and Moodle.

So much to explore! The PLE tag in has been great!

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