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General credit: a recognition of lifewide learning Carol Costley Institute for Work Based Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "General credit: a recognition of lifewide learning Carol Costley Institute for Work Based Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 General credit: a recognition of lifewide learning Carol Costley Institute for Work Based Learning

2 Accrediting Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) There is also Accrediting Prior Learning (APL) which is usually just certificated learning In some countries APL/ APEL is known as Recognising Prior Learning (RPL) Most academics are now familiar with the concept of APEL and recognizing the learning towards a named award. The European Union has now established APEL as a legitimate and worthwhile process There is evidence of good practice from around the world 2

3 Wider use of APEL APEL can be used to recognize training programmes by enhancing the training with university level education and accrediting it as a short course APEL can be used to build awards by recognizing experiential learning and certificated learning and incorporating this into self- directed learning programmes, often through learning agreements APEL for specific credit benchmarks against existing university modules, non-specific (general) credit has a wider remit Many universities allow a percentage of APEL in any given programme but programme leaders make the decision to allow this option APEL has been widely accepted in the UK, uptake is not widespread and use of general credit is marginal despite its positive effect on people and its use in widening participation 3

4 What is General (non-specific) credit? A means by which people can reflect upon their learning drawn from any area of their life experience and make a claim for academic credit. This is distinct from where the common form of APEL for specific credit is claimed only for learning that is contained in university modules. The use of general credit: −recognizes significant abilities gained through current and prior experience −has great potential for access to higher education, −recognises learning that does not fit well into subject disciplines −allows reflection and reflexivity that embraces a wholistic account of learning −is a recognition of lifewide learning 4

5 How general credit is claimed A process involving facilitation, discussion and reflection on the learning achieved from endeavours involved in gaining general credit. Claims requires evidence, cross referencing, formative review, possible interview and assessment requirements of the specific university with the QCF. Examples of areas of general credit for key or core skills such as ‘communication, ‘leadership’ and ‘team-working’. Claims can be in any area where learning from significant human endeavour are articulated and evidenced with a reflective account. Examples of areas of learning that can be claimed: ‘Traffic Accident Investigation’, ‘Community Music’, ‘Managing Events’, ‘Managing Data’ and ‘Project Planning’ but possibilities are countless. 5

6 Learning support Supported by an academic adviser, access to library and other resources, often a virtual learning environment, provided with guidance materials. Claimants craft the titles of ‘Areas of Learning’ based upon their individual experiences with the support of an adviser. Adviser ideally is experienced with claims for general credit and has; good facilitation skills, knowledge that is grounded in experience, understanding of work practices, a pedagogic approach that is conducive to dealing with informal learning. 6

7 Assessment The process aims to evaluate and quantify experiential learning in terms of credit points at a particular level The accreditation assessment practice is normally subject to internal moderation and external scrutiny. General credit does not require bench-marking against learning outcomes of specific modules or other units of learning prescribed by educational institutions. Assessors: -Gauge the learning that has been achieved towards generic level criteria. -Have a keen understanding of education levels and quantification of credits. -Can gain a good grasp of equivalences to the ‘ten hours per credit point’ stipulation for formal learning. -Have expertise in judging the level of learning in relation to QCF. Where a particular specialisation or subject discipline expertise cuts across aspects of the area being claimed, an assessor may seek expert advice. 7

8 Groups who have benefitted from General credit 8 Group 1Group 2Group 3 Professional re- qualification from countries where awards are not recognised at an equivalent level. On-the-job cohorts in organisations that filter their own learning towards criteria that is relevant to their work as opposed to identifying learning relevant to a university module. Using experience towards HE awards in new professional areas, for example ‘Furniture Conservation’ and Professions that do not have higher awards for example ‘Veterinary Surgery’.

9 Areas of learning Financial services Bookkeeping Systems Management Used as advanced standing to enter the second year of a degree General credit was recognised for experience of what would usually be learned in formal education but does not replicate the content of modules Individual Case Studies 9 Yashpol aged 20Nicholas aged 35Sandy General credit towards a Bachelors degree as an elective module General credit that encapsulates an area of expertise that has no existing formal certification Areas of learning Communication Business & Management Catering Area of learning Community Music

10 University systems, policy Knowledge development that is conventional in universities has systems and processes that cause difficulty in the acknowledgement of informal knowledge. Structures in universities and national bodies have not always recognised work with communities that generate and use higher level knowledge. Widening participation and expansion in HE (BIS 2011) entails innovation of curricula for a more diverse community of learners. Systems need to allow models that include accreditation and learner-managed curriculum frameworks. 10

11 Experiences of academic advisors Those engaged in pedagogical research are often influenced by their teaching role. Individuals are often transformed by the educational processes undertaken when making a claim (Armsby et al, 2006). First hand experience of seeing the results of the learning and teaching engagement can give pedagogical researchers a close up view of what appears to be worthwhile in people’s lives. Advisers often have these very rewarding experiences where the learning process has been received as valuable whether or not the credit is put towards an award. 11

12 Conclusion General credit could be part of a more constituted HE system, in partnership with wider community values, constructing systems and frameworks that can be used flexibly by learners. Engaging universities with the whole community and not just an elite part of society requires a closer relationship with communities outside academe (Gibbs and Costley 2012). These are learning systems that include quality assurance, rather than ownership of unique cognitive values. The readiness of institutions to take on the accreditation for general credit requires a flexibility of university qualification structures and a willingness to open access to underrepresented groups. 12

13 REFERENCES Armsby, P., Costley C.and Garnett J. (2006) ‘The legitimisation of knowledge: a work based learning perspective of APEL’ International Journal of Lifelong Learning and Education vol 25. no 4 pp Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) (2011) Higher education: students at the heart of the system, White Paper, London; BIS Gibbs, PGibbs, P. and Costley, C. (2012) ‘The Community of Workers' University: a pragmatic institution for the future?’ Higher Education Quarterly, Vol 66 No Costley, CThe Community of Workers' University: a pragmatic institution for the future? 13


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