Cookie preferences

HundrED uses necessary cookies that are essential to use the service and to provide a better user experience. Read more about our cookies.
Accept cookies


Create. Share. Engage.

Mahara is open source software that enables students and professionals to create media-rich portfolios of their learning progress, achievements, and reflections.

HundrED 2023


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






Target group
October 2022
Mahara allows students to manage how the world sees them, and their own destiny, moving away from institutional ownership and having more control at a personal level.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Mahara was created to give learners the chance to collect important evidence of their learning journey in a space that they control and where they decide who can access their evidence and reflections.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Being an open source software, Mahara is typically installed on a server by an organisation that wants to make portfolios available to its community. Multiple organisations can also use one instance of Mahara, allowing for easier collaboration and sharing across organisational boundaries.

Learners, who could be students or professionals, can create portfolios based on topics or learning experiences, upload or embed their evidence and reflections, and then share it with others for feedback. These portfolios can be used for a variety or purposes, including learning, professional development, formative and summative assessment, showcasing of a project, work-integrated learning, and professional registration, e.g. for for teachers.

Educators can set up templates to scaffold the portfolio setup process and support learners in their reflection journey. Through integration possibilities with learning management systems, Mahara portfolios can be included in more formal learning settings.

How has it been spreading?

Founded in 2006, Mahara is used around the world in schools, tertiary / higher education institutions, and in the workplace. The vast majority of organisations maintain their own platforms and therefore have full control over the look, who can access the site and how it is being used to support the different learner groups. Tertiary / higher education institutions in particular may offer alumni continued access to their portfolios after they graduate.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

You can check out the public demo site at and get in touch with the Mahara team via if you'd like to discuss your project.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

The initiative already works in 39 countries. The platform is easy to use, and the hosting setup allows it to be integrated into existing systems, making it scalable across contexts and even age groups/learning environments.

This is an interesting innovation that would encourage self-learning. The potential to undertake formative and summative assessment makes Mahara very valuable EDtech.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Decide on the portfolio strategy
Typically, individual teachers are passionate about using portfolios with their students to support authentic learning experiences. They often start portfolios in their classes 'grass roots' style. To make this practice sustainable at an institution, the institution should decide on a strategy for portfolio use. That can be multifaceted to support different learning scenarios for a variety of disciplines.
Evaluate portfolio platforms
Once the organisation is clear on how it wants to work with portfolios, an evaluation process takes place to find a technology solution that supports the portfolio strategy the closest. The organisation will have established criteria that are important to measure the various platforms against. Considerations are typically: feature set for best fit for purpose, usability, accessibility, costs and license, support and community, data storage, privacy, and extendibility.
Implement the portfolio platform
After the careful evaluation of possible portfolio platforms, an organisation then proceeds to the implementation step that includes the various stakeholders from the organisation to make it a success. Often, a small scale pilot informs the larger roll-out. Organisations using Mahara can work very flexibly and support multiple different types of portfolios allowing them to use it organisation wide and also beyond organisational boundaries.
Reflect, learn, and iterate
Portfolios come with a built-in reflective component. Applying that to the overall portfolio strategy is beneficial to continuously improve on the offering to students and staff, incorporate new ideas from the learning sciences and learning design, and make it a practice that benefits learners and the organisation.

Spread of the innovation

loading map...