Here we look at the field of educational portals, including a definition, benefits for teaching and learning, and top solutions companies.
What is an educational portal?
An educational portal is a website or platform that provides access to educational resources and services. Educational portals can be created by schools, universities, educational organizations, or individual educators and can be used by students, teachers, and parents.
These portals often provide a variety of resources such as online courses, lesson plans, educational games, and testing materials. They may also offer tools for communication and collaboration, such as forums and messaging systems.
Some educational portals are open to the public and can be accessed by anyone, while others may require a login or subscription.
Benefits of educational portals
- Convenience and flexibility
- Access to a wide range of resources and services
- Ability to personalize learning
- Opportunity for collaboration and communication
Types of educational portals
There are many different types of educational portals, and they can vary significantly in terms of their purpose, audience, and the resources and services they provide. Some common types of educational portals include:
- Online learning platforms: These portals provide access to online courses, often with a focus on a specific subject or discipline. Some of the best known examples include edX and Khan Academy.
- School or university portals: Many schools and universities have their own portals that provide access to resources and services for students, faculty, and staff. These portals may include course materials, grades, schedules, and other important information.
- Educational resource portals: These portals provide access to a wide range of educational resources, such as lesson plans, educational games, and testing materials. Examples include PBS LearningMedia and National Geographic Education.
- Professional development portals: These portals are designed to help educators improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in education. Examples include the National Education Association’s Learning Hub and the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.
- Parent and student portals: These portals are designed to provide parents and students with resources and tools to support learning at home. They may include information about assignments, schedules, and other important information.
Challenges of educational portals
- Accessibility issues – current educational portals have various levels of accessibility. Even the best are reliant on administrators populating them with accessible content in terms of a mix of visual, audio, ability to expand small text etc.
- Dependence on technology – opportunities to learn depends on an individual’s computer and internet access at home.
- Quality and reliability of resources – you can have great educational portal software, but ultimately, content is still king.
- Software onboarding – teachers and learners need an effective software onboarding program through guidance and / or tutorials. The majority of new technology programs that are deemed to have failed are let down by project communication and onboarding, rather than the system itself.
The Best Educational Portals
Below is a list of some of the best educational portals today. This includes learning platform creation software and hubs of ready to go teaching and learning content.
Moodle is a highly customizable and reliable eLearning platform that allows educators to create powerful and effective learning experiences. It is trusted by teachers and lecturers around the world as a tool for improving education and making positive impact.
Moodle has a mission of “Making quality online education accessible for all”.
As of 2023, Moodle is the most-used learning management system (LMS) / virtual learning environment (VLE). It has over 316 million users, across over 179,000 Moodle installations across the globe. There have been 1.8 billion enrolments in 41 million courses, created using 42 languages and translated into over 100.
Moodle is an open source learning management system that can be downloaded, modified, and shared for free.
Education.com offers a variety of resources for reviewing important concepts and learning about new topics. With a free membership, you can access over 30,000 lesson plans, worksheets, games and more.
Teaching resources include stories, songs and activities to make learning fun and accessible.
As of 2023, Education.com is used in 20 countries across 6 continents by 28 million teachers, students and parents.
Khan Academy is a free educational resource that offers a range of educational materials for students of all ages. It was created by experts to help students learn at their own pace and covers subjects such as mathematics, science, and more.
Teachers can use Khan Academy to identify areas where their students need additional support and create personalised lesson plans. The organisation’s mission is to provide high-quality education to anyone, anywhere in the world, free of charge.
Containing over 30,000 book summaries, eNotes allows you to learn about any book and ask any question.
This organisation provides summaries and analysis of various books that may be included on a student’s syllabus. These resources cover well-known works such as Macbeth and The Great Gatsby, as well as more obscure texts that may be used in advanced courses. The guides are checked for accuracy by a team of experts and are designed to help students fully understand the stories, chapters, themes, and characters.
eNotes has helped thousands of students with their essays and homework, and is available to answer questions and provide assistance to anyone who needs it. Its educators have already answered over 375,000 questions from students.
The LINCS Learning Portal is an online platform that supports professional development opportunities for adult educators and practitioners. It offers a variety of free online courses for educators to use at their own pace.
Topics covered include:
- Career Pathways & Postsecondary Transitions
- Integrating Technology
- English Language Acquisition
- Learners with Disabilities
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- Teaching & Learning
There are over 20 options available, and they can be accessed from any location. The LINCS Learning Portal courses are led by a virtual facilitator, but students must register in order to participate.
Shmoop University Inc is a company that provides online educational resources, including test prep materials, mental health resources, and learning content for K-12 students. They use a humorous approach to make difficult subjects more engaging and offer thousands of videos and guides to help students learn in a fun way.
Schmoop is an educational technology company that focuses on creating engaging and effective tools to meet the needs of K-12 schools and their learners.
edX is an online educational platform that offers university-level courses in a variety of subjects to students around the world. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform was created by Harvard and MIT, and hosts courses from a variety of institutions.
Some of the courses at edX are available for free, and the platform also conducts research on learning based on how students use it.
Educational portals are helping students to access learning materials whenever and wherever suits them best. They allow teachers and lecturers to reach learners regardless of location, and even timezone.
However, it’s essential to choose the right portal for individual needs and those of your education provider. Some establishments might benefit most from a platform that hosts teaching materials created in-house, while some want access to an extensive library of ready to go learning content.
As internet access is now virtually ubiquitous, the future of educational portals will centre on increasing accessibility in terms of personalised learning for various abilities and learning preferences. Their popularity is likely to grow with the increased use of multimedia content, such as audio and video in addition to text and static images.