MERLOT Collection

The MERLOT collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials, learning exercises, and Content Builder webpages, together with associated comments, and bookmark collections, all intended to enhance the teaching experience of using a learning material. All of these items have been contributed by the MERLOT member community, who have either authored the materials themselves, or who have discovered the materials, found them useful, and wished to share their enthusiasm for the materials with others in the teaching and learning community.

All the materials in MERLOT are reviewed for suitability for retention in the collection. Many undergo the more extensive "peer review" for which MERLOT is famous. MERLOT presents annual awards for various categories of materials added to or used in the collection. As described in Material Link Checking and Removal, all material URL's in the collection are reviewed frequently for sustainability.

Additional topics related to the MERLOT Collection include:


MERLOT Materials

The MERLOT Collection is made up of over 91,000 materials in 22 different material type categories. You can browse or search the learning materials in MERLOT. Some frequently asked questions about the MERLOT materials are: 

How do materials get into MERLOT? 
MERLOT materials are submitted by members of the MERLOT community. You have to be a member of MERLOT to contribute materials, but membership is free. MERLOT welcomes all to submit learning materials to the collection. 

Who is an author in MERLOT?
A MERLOT member that has authored a material will have an author icon associated with their profile. This lets others know they are the creator of materials. 

Where are all the materials stored? 
MERLOT does not store the materials that are discoverable on our site. We maintain the metadata records for each material in the 
collection and link to its own website. On a monthly basis we verify the links of the materials to ensure their validity. We have a very low (~2%) rate of deletion due to inactive websites. 

Can I use materials from MERLOT in my course? Are MERLOT materials copyrighted? 
Every material in MERLOT indicates on the metadata record whether the material has a cost for associated with its use or if the material is copyrighted. If you have a question beyond the information included, please contact the author or


Learning Exercises

Learning Exercises are projects, papers, or activities that can be part of the coursework for a class. Learning Exercises are linked to a learning material in MERLOT and may involve only that material, or it may involve other activities as well. In describing the Learning Exercises, the contributor describes the type of activity (i.e. in-class, homework assignment, individual assignment, group, etc.) as well as the time involved to complete it. The contributor also can identify learning objectives for the assignment as well as any assessment activities. Comments are observations of those who have either used the module or reviewed it. Comments submitted to MERLOT automatically become a "seed" for online discussions, permitting other MERLOT Members to comment on the comment. Members may also rate learning materials on a scale of 1-5, providing MERLOT users with the additional metric of a "crowd sourced" review for such materials. A Bookmark Collection is a gathering of MERLOT modules into a bookmark collection "folder" that any MERLOT Members can access. The owner of a Personal Collection can annotate each collection to explain its purpose. 


Material Types

Learning materials in MERLOT can be categorized into 22 different material Types.

  1. Animation: Visually and dynamically presents concepts, models, processes, and/or phenomena in space or time. Users can control their pace and movement through the material typically, but they cannot determine and/or influence the initial conditions or their outcomes/results.
  2. Assessment Tool: Forms, templates, and technologies for measuring teaching and/or learning performance
  3. Assignment: Activities or lesson plans designed to enable students to learn skills and knowledge.
  4. Case Study: A narrative resource describing a complex interaction of real life factors to help illustrate the impact and/or interactions of concepts and factors in depth
  5. Collection: A meaningful organization of learning resources such as web sites, documents, apps, etc. that provides users an easier way to discover the materials.
  6. Development Tool: Software development applications platforms for authoring technology-based resources (e.g. web sites, learning objects, apps.)
  7. Drill and Practice: Requires users to respond repeatedly to questions or stimuli presented in a variety of sequences. Users practice on their own, at their own pace, to develop their ability to reliably perform and demonstrate the target knowledge and skills.
  8. ePortfolio: A collection of electronic materials assembled and managed by a user. These may include text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and links. E-portfolios are both demonstrations of the user’s abilities and platforms for self-expression, and, if they are online, they can be maintained dynamically over time. An e-portfolio can be seen as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement.
  9. Hybrid/Blended Course: The organization and presentation of course curriculum required to deliver a complete course that blends online and face-to-face teaching and learning activities.
  10. Learning Object Repository: A searchable database of at least 100 online resources that is available on the Internet and whose search result displays an ordered list of items with a descriptive metadata. A webpage with a list of links is not a learning object repository
  11. Online Course: The organization and presentation of course curriculum required to deliver a complete course fully online
  12. Online Course Module: A component or section of a course curriculum that can be presented fully online and independent from the complete course.
  13. Open (Access) Journal – Article: A journal or article in a journal that is free of cost from the end user and has a Creative Commons, public domain, or other public use license agreement.
  14. Open (Access) Textbook: An online textbook offered by its author(s) with Creative Commons, public domain, or other public use license agreement allowing use of the ebook at no additional cost.
  15. Presentation: Teaching materials (text and multimedia) used present curriculum and concepts.
  16. Quiz/Test: Any assessment device intended to evaluate the knowledge and/or skills of learners
  17. Reference Material: Material with no specific instructional objectives, similar to that found in the reference area of a library. Subject specific directories to other sites, texts, or general information are examples.
  18. Simulation: Approximates a real or virtual experience in which users’ actions affect the outcomes of tasks they have to complete. Learners determine and input initial conditions that generate output that is different from and changed by the initial conditions.
  19. Social Networking Tool: Websites and apps that allows users to communicate with others connected in an electronic network of self-identified user groups for the purpose of sharing information, calls for actions, reactions, etc.
  20. Syllabus: A document or website that outlines the requirements and expectations for completing a course of study.
  21. Tutorial: Users navigate through a set of scaffolded learning activities designed to meet stated learning objectives, structured to impart specific concepts or skills, and organized sequentially to integrate conceptual presentation, demonstration, practice and testing. Feedback on learner performance is an essential component of a tutorial.
  22. Workshop and Training Material: Materials best used in a workshop setting for the purpose of professional development.


Technical Formats

MERLOT materials can be categorized into 15 technical formats.

  Flash QuickTime
Audio Java Applet Website
Common Cartridge PDF Zip
Document (e.g. Word) Presentation (e.g. Powerpoint) Other
Executable Program SCORM  
Flash Spreadsheet (e.g. Excel)  
Image Video  


Bookmark Collections

MERLOT users often find learning materials in the collection that they wish to collect and organize under a specific theme, topic, or label. Bookmark Collections help personalize the MERLOT collection for members. It is a compilation of online resources from MERLOT that MERLOT Members can access easily to use for specific purposes, classes or topics. The owner of the Bookmark Collection can annotate each collection to more easily explain the purpose of it.

A Bookmark Collection, for example, can be used to save a set of learning materials related to a topic in a course. They are discoverable and shareable by other MERLOT users. The frequency with which a material is stored in a Bookmark Collection is considered to be a ‘statement’ of the popularity or value of that material. For this reason, MERLOT displays the number of Bookmark Collections in which each material has been placed.

There are many ways to use Bookmark Collections:

There is also additional information on creating Bookmark Collections here.


Course ePortfolios

A Course ePortfolio, an extension of a Bookmark Collection, provides MERLOT Members with the opportunity to also define strategic elements of a course (e.g., prerequisites, approach and outcomes, assessment, etc.). The MERLOT Course ePortfolio allows you to build your entire course – from prerequisites to online resources to assessment – all within MERLOT, and then share your Course ePortfolio with colleagues and students, or download it into a Word document and create your course syllabus. Additional information on Course ePortfolios can be found here.


Language and Translation

MERLOT users can specify their language preference in their browser, translate any MERLOT page into a different language or identify MERLOT materials written in other languages. Also, in the MERLOT Advanced member search, you can declare the languages you speak and read and post them to your profile as well as identify other members that speak a specific language.

MERLOT members have the ability to restrict material searches to a specific language by specifying a preferred language on their profile page. Once logged in, on your profile page, select a language from the drop down on the right side. If you do not select one, English is the default.

Search hit lists are returned in the language specified in your profile page. If you wish to see all results, not only those in your preferred language, that option is presented to you at the completion of your search

Translate MERLOT into Any Language

The MERLOT website can be translated into over 100 different languages using Google Translate.  And while the translation is not perfect, Google Translate is constantly being improved. As a result, our translations are only as good as what they provide.

The translation menu in MERLOT can be found in the bottom left, in the footer, on any page in MERLOT. To translate a page in MERLOT to another language, simply select the target language from the pop up menu in the footer and click the arrow to the right of the language field.

The MERLOT page will automatically be translated into the language you select. MERLOT will remain in that language until you select English again. Even when MERLOT is translated into another language, you can search and browse MERLOT, join MERLOT, contribute materials, add a comment, or create learning exercise in translation "mode." Note that if you select a new language after logging in to MERLOT, you may be required to log in again.

Identify MERLOT Materials Written in Other Languages

MERLOT provides the ability for users to contribute materials to the collection in over 400 different languages. The feature, which is part of the Contribute wizard (Step 3), easily enables the selection of languages derived from the ISO Code list found at

View Non-English MERLOT Materials with Google Translate

Have you ever want to see a web site in a different language? Ever want to contribute a material to MERLOT that's in a different language but don't know what the words mean. Although MERLOT cannot translate the materials you link to from our site, you do have the ability to translate the pages. Well with Google Translate, you can enter text and specify the language you want to translate to, and Google will do the rest. You can also enter a URL and have that webpage translated into the language you specify.

Add Languages You Speak and Read to your MERLOT Member Profile

MERLOT allows members, on their profile, to declare the languages they speak and read. In addition, level of proficiency can also be stated to include Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Superior. To add this information to your profile, go to your profile page and click the EDIT to the right of the Languages title box. You can add as many languages and proficiency levels as you wish.

Search for MERLOT Members Who Speak a Specific Language

Using the MERLOT Advanced member search, a user can find MERLOT members that speak their language. Keep in mind that this will only locate members that have completed this optional field on their profile page. To identify such users, on the Advanced member search page, begin typing the language you want to find users. Select from the drop down and click Search. You will be taken to a results page listing all the users that match that criteria in MERLOT.