US National Park Service Common Learning Portal

What is a Learning Portal? What are the benefits, and how does it differ from a Learning Management System? How does it support a very decentralized and often disconnected & remote workforce like the NPS, whose employee may only have access to information through a smartphone? The US National Park Service has recently launched its “Common Learning Portal” (CLP) after 4 years in development and testing. A single “one-stop shopping experience” for all NPS learning, it combines a formal learning e-catalog, an informal “Knowledge Park” of curated information, and a social learning environment, known as “The Commons”, that connects learners with each other and with experts. By using the WordPress open-source web-authoring platform, the system provides a modern look and feel, and is easy for non-programmers to create and post learning information. To date, we have over 90 content teams that actively input and update learning information in the CLP on a regular basis. In addition to serving our workforce, the CLP also allows access to our many public volunteers and partners.

The NPS Distance Learning Group will be providing a presentation and virtual tour of the Common Learning Portal. We will show course catalog links, Knowledge Park learning resources, and social learning discussions, access to experts feature, badging, a personal learning journal, and a Learning Activity Builder that uses xAPI for tracking that is connected to WordPress learning record store plug-in that we created. As part of the tour, our team will be sharing tips and lessons learned about managing social learning in a government environment, curating content and strategies for engagement of busy adult learners. We will also give you a peek into the data that the CLP generates and valuable information that it provides.


This work was supported by the U.S. Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the ADL Initiative or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce for Government purposes.


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