Considerations when choosing a learning portal

Interest in e-learning in recent years large, and there are now many (commercial and non-commercial) providers of learning portals. Just like you-for example, vendor- CMS - and CRM systems do see, have different providers of "learning portals" often have different ideas about the exact functionality that the software should offer, so this article gives a few issues may be helpful in the selection.


Nowadays you expect that soon a "portal" using Internet technology and on the side of the end user requires little more than a web browser (that sometimes things like " Java "or" flash "will have to support).

This is not necessarily the case especially with older systems that are installed on the local network, it is possible that they use their own client software. In that case, extra attention should be paid to the technical requirements of the software allows the network to the computers of end users.

On the side of the end users enough to newer learning portals, as mentioned, usually (a recent version of) a web browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox, but the server-side needs some attention: the software runs on a server of the provider ( a so-called "hosted" solution) or on a private server of the customer?

Notice in the latter case that the "correct" basic software: Some learning portals are designed to "LAMP platform" (the Linux operating system including a MySQL database and PHP programming language), but there are also learning portals the Windows platform (including SQL Server and ASP or ASP.NET).

Substantive requirements

Although the technological requirements some attention, the software must exist to work! - Are the substantive requirements you a learning portal can make much more interesting: what exactly are the goals of the organization, and to what extent the functional requirements and want the software support?

Learning portals can be used for example in the provision of education. In most cases students must first login and then get one or more courses to see that they can (re) follow. A course generally contains a number of texts, often supplemented with audio and video material.

Courses are usually divided into chapters or modules. These must be worked through some strictly sequential, but in other cases it is possible for the material at their discretion to "explore" by clicking on the left. (In some cases, there are links to external sites, which the student is the actual learning portal so exit, such links are often open in a new window.) Often it is possible for a course or module to terminate and continue next time to the place where they left off.

Except for instruction to learning portals also be used for testing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of students, for example, their entry level of interest, or to check whether they have a specific part of the material control and if necessary to send (formative evaluation), but also at the end of the course, for example, to determine whether they can go through an advanced course (summative evaluation).

Learning portals can also student progress through time and across multiple courses and / or capture areas and insight into, the learning portal functions as a pupil.


The checklist below contains some general considerations for choosing a learning portal:

  • Is the existing hardware and software to the requirements of the learning portal allows?
  • If not, it is (technically and commercially) viable for the technical infrastructure to adapt?
  • Is SCORM supported?
  • The software supports it (online) preparing teaching materials?
  • The software supports the integration and management of "external" made learning materials?
  • Will review and "assessment" support?
  • If so, what question types are supported (multiple choice, open question, matching, ...)?
  • The results of students at different levels (course, field, ...) followed by time?
  • The software supports the issuance of "certificates" after reaching the learning objectives?
  • Is the software upgradeable (via optional modules or plug-ins)?
  • Can students a "portfolio" of digital files has?
  • Is interaction between students and / or teachers (eg through chat, forums, ...) supported?
  • Students can join "groups" for people with similar interests?

(This list must of course be supplemented with any issues that are specific to the organization that wants to use a learning portal!)