Common Learning Portfolio Markup Language (CLPML) – A Proposal

With MOOCs, professional learning networks, student swirls and other ways students and life-long learners gain knowledge nowadays, how can individuals own and maintain their own learning portfolios, including their accomplishments and competencies? How can we make it easier for educational institutions, vendors and even individuals themselves to exchange learning portfolios so their data do not belong in islands such as educational institutions’ and vendor databases? What if there is a common language for vendors and educational institutions and their systems to interface seamlessly, something like Common Learning Portfolio Markup Language (CLPML)?

I did some cursory web search on a concept like this and I came across a data dictionary used by a project called Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR)  Framework but I don’t think the focus is the individual as the records are “‘anonymized’  student and course level records” according to this article by Campus Technology. There are portfolio systems like iWebFolio and PathBrite as well as OrgSync and CollegiateLink but do they have their own proprietary data definitions? If a user of one of these systems chooses to take their data and transfer it to another service, can and are they allowed to do that in a way that the user can easily do so?

This post is to introduce this concept of CLPML for discussion.  My intent is to get feedback from readers on how this can be further developed.  This  is my early version of this concept and so I have not thoroughly explored the details, including what data elements to include in the portfolio and what are the processes required to appropriately transfer data. Please let me know if this concept already exists as I may have missed it when I did my search.

As more learning providers become available and new methods of instructional delivery are developed, the idea of having a common language that can be used by different systems to easily exchange/transfer portfolio for the benefit of the learner will become more important.

Just like you, I’m a life-long learner myself, someone who uses social media, professional development courses offered by my company, e-books,  on-line courses and other means to learn.  It would be nice to have a method/process for us to use so  we can share our information to potential employers and other colleagues  in ways we choose to. I realize this proposed markup language is not just about technology as questions on how information can appropriately be shared between systems need to be considered. However, having an open standard format like CLPML I think could facilitate the discussions and make it easier to implement.

The diagram below is a conceptual representation of what types of institutions could be involved as well as to show the learner-centered philosophy.



What do you think of this concept? Would you benefit from this idea? What information would you like to be included in your portfolio?

9 thoughts on “Common Learning Portfolio Markup Language (CLPML) – A Proposal

  1. Laura Pasquini

    I think that there are HUGE benefits for portfolios for learning. It’s a way for our learners and professionals to archive their work, share their reflections, and give back to their disciplines. Education programs (mainly K-12) have been doing this for years, and I know that I benefited from one in my MS.Ed and now as a doctoral candidate. I suppose my current portfolio would be a mashup of my blog, tweets, and PhD portfolio with a sprinkling of my Flickr photos and a couple YouTube videos.

    1. Joe Sabado

      Thanks, Laura!

      As you know, I’ve been following how you present your work and your approach to formal and alternative professional development. You definitely know this area. Your comment provided me more ideas on how to incorporate these info located everywhere. Maybe part of the data dictionary could be option of linking to the various sites.

  2. Seth Northrop

    I think this is a great idea! I would look at creating a standardized XML schema that is portable and interconnects with service providers, educational institutions, and vendors. One use-case would be importing your portfolio into an educational institution’s online application. Wikipedia has a listing of XML schemas and there don’t appear to be any education or learning portfolio MLs out there (

    1. Joe Sabado

      HI Seth,

      Yes! I like that idea. That’s what I was thinking about the format. Use xml schema. It would be nice for an applicant to not have to re-enter their info. Thinking further ahead, maybe the data (defined by xml schema) can be consumed via RSS?

      Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Erica Andrzejewski

    I believe this would be a great tool for my current job search. I graduated a year ago so being able to display my efforts in staying current in the field would be a huge asset.

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