What's in the future of Mahara?


by Kristina Hoeppner

Illustration of ten faceless people doing various activities with tablets, phones, and computers, with the Mahara logo behind them. Text reads "From Aotearoa New Zealand to the world. Celebrating 15 years of supporting learners."

In 2006, a new software project was created that put learners into the centre of attention. Mahara was developed not to replace learning management systems (LMS) but to complement them and to provide learners with the opportunity to collect what was important to them of all the learning they did. Now, 15 years later, this is still true. Working with portfolios and personal learning environments has changed over the years, and Mahara has evolved and continues to be relevant. Some of these evolutions include easier mapping of learning evidence to a competency framework, better integration with LMS, improved management of large groups of learners, and scaffolding their use of portfolios.

Each half-yearly release of Mahara includes changes in five areas:

  • Usability: simplify the user interface, keep up with the changing world of how people interact with web applications and thus expect from Mahara.
  • New features: offer tools to learners that they need to create the portfolios they want or are required to set up.
  • Technical updates: update third-party libraries and search for new ways to continuously improve the usability of the site.
  • Issue resolution: fix problems that the community has come across.
  • Infrastructure updates: facilitate the smooth running of the project, the server infrastructure that hosts community sites.

Through conversations in the community, research being conducted in organisations using Mahara, and also organisations more broadly using portfolios, we keep up to date with trends in the field of electronic portfolios to help us continue to evolve Mahara over the coming years.

I'd like to invite you to share your requirements for portfolios in your organisation – be that an education provider, organisation working in registration and compliance, or company – to think about how you support your learners and staff on their learning journey and professional development beyond mere tick boxes and how you gather, showcase, and reflect on learning.

Mahara being an open source software, we can tailor it to your requirements, integrate it with other tools already available in your learning ecosystem, and support your organisational goals.

Come along to one of our upcoming free one-hour webinars to either learn more about how to use Mahara in general or to learn more about the new features that will be released at the end of October 2021.

Introduction to Mahara: 28 and 29 October 2021

New features in Mahara 21.10: 2 and 3 November 2021

Read Part 1 in this series on the history of Mahara here: Building a bridge: PLE and integration with other tools for assessment purposes

And read Part 2 here: Mahara: It takes a village