What is a Learning Portal?

I’ve heard a few people on Twitter talk about a ‘Learning Portal’ recently, so have been doing a little digging to try and figure out;

  1. what is a Learning Portal, and
  2. why are they talking about it?

So, what is a Learning Portal?
Imperial College London classes a Learning Portal as;

“A Website that offers learners or organizations consolidated access to learning and training resources from multiple sources. Operators of learning portals are also called content aggregators, distributors, or hosts.”

BJ Schone goes (thankfully) further in the explanation and says;

“A learning portal is a web site that contains links to all different types of learning and training materials for employees at an organization. It may display upcoming classes, online courses, job aids, programs, links to web sites, etc. It may also include search functionality, a rating system, bookmarking ability, and more. The content displayed on the portal may be general to all employees at an organization, or it may be customized for that individual and the role they play. In a perfect world, the learning portal would be able to analyze the person’s department, role, and previous training history. It would then auto-magically determine learning resources that may be most valuable to that person. It may take a little while, but we’ll get there.”

I think, in my language, this is like a really pumped-up VLE – not only is it delivering the learning materials (reading list, MCQs, assignments, assignment submissions, grade/feedback, etc) but also the timetable, account info, bookmarks, etc that is all specific to the individual learner/student that is accessing it?

I can’t see Blackboard ever being described in this way, even the anticipated upgrade to Blackboard 9 won’t  bring it closer, It will increase it’s usage and personalisation.

So, is a Learning Portal another name for the PLE – Personalised Learning Environment? It’ snot exactly the same,rom what I can see at the moment, but it’s close.

If you know more than me, then please feel free and comment below and either tell me, or point me in the direction so I can read more myself.