Enhancing the ELP for the 21st Century

Álvarez, Inma; Tita, Beaven and Pérez Cavana, Maria Luisa (2009). Enhancing the ELP for the 21st Century. In: European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS) Seminar, The Role of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the European Language Portfolio in Higher Education, 17-19 Sep 2009, Padua, Italy.


The Council of Europe’s European Language Portfolio (ELP) was originally designed as a paper based document in three distinct parts (Passport, Biography, Dossier). In the past few years some attempts have been directed at producing an electronic version of the original paper model, however very little has been done to explore the full potential of the ELP in a digital environment. The project presented in this paper is based on the development and usage of an electronic ELP by adult distance learning students at the Open University (OU) in the United Kingdom. The paper will reflect on two main issues around the current format of the ELP and its potential in the digital era based on technical appropriateness and analysis of learners’ needs and interests. Firstly, it will assess the suitability of the original ELP template’s structures and navigation in a digital environment, and will report on the technical challenges of recreating it in an electronic format, as well as on the solutions that needed to be found for a coherent electronic design. Secondly, this presentation will suggest how the content of the ELP could be enhanced and expanded taking advantage of the technology.

The project at the OU piloted an additional section on learning styles within the Biography and also provided a link to the newly developed Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters (AIE).

The conclusions of the study suggest that the potential of the ELP as a learning guide, self-reflection instrument and self-assessment tool can be significantly enhanced using a virtual environment instead of a paper format.

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