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As a web-based electronic portfolio, ePEARL supports literacy (and other content areas) by encouraging students to set goals, develop and monitor strategies for accomplishing their work, and reflect on their learning, all part of a process called self-regulated learning (SRL). ePEARL can be used by students at different education levels (elementary school through adult), can be personalized by users, and also offers a place for teachers, parents, and peers to offer feedback.

Self-regulated learning

Two decades of research evidence has shown the importance of developing students' self-regulatory skills – a cyclical process of Forethought, Performance and Self-Reflection -- for successful learning at school and throughout life. ePEARL is designed to scaffold the self-regulation process for students as well as to support the teachers guiding them. The CSLP developed ePEARL based on sound pedagogical research, input from LEARN and English language arts consultants, and practical advice from teachers in the field.

ePEARL promotes:

  • Goal Setting: Creating general learning goals for a term or year, as well as task goals for a specific piece of work (called an artifact).
  • Reflection on the process and finished product.
  • Feedback from peers, parents and teachers on the portfolio as a whole or on a specific artifact.

In ePEARL, students and teachers develop skills in self-regulation by following the cycle, which we describe as Plan, Do, Reflect.


ePEARL can be used in a variety of ways and contexts.


The ePEARL Learning Process guides students through the creation of an artifact (piece of work), allowing enough flexibility for truly creative work and just enough scaffolding to keep students on the right track. There is a text editor and an audio recorder, which can capture readings, music pieces, or oral presentations. The software also offers the ability to attach work created with other software programs, so it can accommodate any kind of digital work a student creates in class, including scanned images of paper-based work.

Before work is created, students are encouraged to set goals for their work. They may also attach learning logs, evaluation rubrics, and study plans to keep track of their learning process. After finishing a piece of work, students are asked to reflect on their performance and strategies, and to use those reflections to adjust their goals for the next set of works. They can also solicit feedback from teachers and peers on drafts or pieces of work.


In the ePEARL Presentations folder, students collect artifacts they have selected for inclusion. This collection process allows students to reflect on their work, its relationship to other work, and on their own advancements. Self-regulation is also supported when students create new goals for future work or modify learning behaviour based on their reflections on a particular piece they have collected. Sharing with peers and parents is encouraged and teachers have automatic access to all of their students' portfolios so that they can view and provide feedback on the work.


Finally, the Ministère de l'éducation, du Loisirs et du Sport (MELS), in partnership with the Récit Nationale du Développement Professionnel and Concordia University, has redesigned and adapted ePEARL, an electronic Web-based bilingual portfolio, to specifically support the Personal Orientation Project (POP). For more information visit LEARN's page.

ePEARL is designed for use by students of varying ages who may access different “levels” of the software. Many features of the portfolio, such as the welcome screen, can be customized at Levels 2 and 3. We believe that feeling ownership over one's portfolio is crucial and the electronic portfolio can be as personal as any print-based one. 

A Student's View: Level 1

Level 1 is geared towards beginning readers in grades 1 & 2 (Cycle One in Quebec). The interface and types of interactions are simplified and specially tailored for young learners. There is an embedded audio recorder so that students can record themselves reading and then reflect on that work.  


There is also a simple writing module for young students who can access a text editor with basic word processing features and then type their first writing endeavours. Once a writing work has been saved, a teacher or other person can assign a specific question that will prompt the student to reflect on her writing skills and strategies. An image may also be linked to the entry. 


ABRACADABRA (A Balanced Reading Approach for All Canadians Designed to Achieve Best Results for All) is an early literacy application developed by the CSLP and which is linked to the Level 1 portfolio. The link to ABRA provides digital reading material to children along with a bank of images that accompanies every story. For more information about ABRA click here.

A Student's View: Level 2

Level 2 is designed for students in grades 3-6 (Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 in Quebec). The design is more mature, and students can manage their files, customize their ePEARL, and allow peers to view and comment on their entries.  


In Level 2, students set general goals for the term, specific goals for each entry and strategies for achieving their goals. They are encouraged to reflect on their own work, and to provide meaningful feedback on their peers' work. There is also a handy "Parent Mode" that lets parents and students browse through ePEARL together while allowing parents to make comments in designated places. 


As well, In order to support students while they do their work and to help them practice self-regulation, ePEARL has a feature called the Multi-Page mode. This part of the tool walks students through the Planning-Doing-Reflecting cycle. Students are presented with small chunks of manageable tasks as well as detailed instruction about the tasks at hand. 


Level 3 is designed to meet the needs of secondary school students (Grades 7-12). With its Toolbox, Schedule and Tagging features, it promotes a more flexible and mature design environment. Level 3 promotes more in-depth use of self-regulation, encouraging students to drill-down on goal-setting, motivation, and reflection questions. The Toolbar offers even more ways of adding content to this multimedia portfolio. 


The ability to set notifications, add posts and reply to peers', teachers' and parents' comments creates the feel of a “wall,” which students are accustomed to in a social media era. Students can customize these notifications and their Home Page, which ultimately provides ownership over their portfolio and learning.

A Professional Portfolio: Level 4

Level 4 is designed for adult learners and post-secondary students as well as pre-service and in-service teachers who wish to create a professional portfolio. The features are similar to those in Level 3, but they delve more deeply into self-regulated components such as strategies, motivation and reflection. Level 4 offers visual overviews of goals, strategies and competencies. 


The toolbox encourages users to track their learning process with a checklist of strategies used, a reminder of their plan, which allows for revision, a timer and progress bars. Furthermore, the Record feature allows the user to keep a journal to reflect on their progress in different areas. To help organize the portfolio, tags are system-generated, and can also be user-defined.  

Giving students feedback while they are planning, doing or reflecting is an invaluable part of the self-regulation process. In ePEARL, teachers and parents are not only encouraged to view their students’ or child’ work, but also to support and scaffold the students’ learning process by giving them constructive feedback. A dedicated space at the bottom of the home page allows peers, parents, and teachers to easily support, encourage, and give helpful feedback to the learner. 

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