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Flexible paths to assessment for OER learners: A comparative study Dianne Conrad and Rory McGreal Athabasca University OER12 Cambridge, UK April 16, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Flexible paths to assessment for OER learners: A comparative study Dianne Conrad and Rory McGreal Athabasca University OER12 Cambridge, UK April 16, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Flexible paths to assessment for OER learners: A comparative study Dianne Conrad and Rory McGreal Athabasca University OER12 Cambridge, UK April 16, 2012

2 Outline The issue The research Findings Related thoughts Concluding remarks, questions

3 The issue Learners who access OER and acquire knowledge/skills cannot have their learning assessed and accredited

4 Freedom, accessibility for learners To enrol in and complete courses at institutions of their choice To change institutions as they strive to complete a program/programs To transfer credits among institutions nationally and internationally To have prior learning assessed and accredited

5 Research objectives Map existing types of assessment/accreditation Analyze and evaluate scalable approaches Document lessons learned Propose recommendations/way forward

6 Research study SSHRC-funded (Canadian academic funding agency) One year 31 post secondary institutions 10 countries Open Educational Resource University (OERu )

7 Why OERu? Present systems are unsustainable. Present systems are not scalable for universal education. We must find new more cost-effective learning systems with higher quality. OER will form part of this solution: How many learners??

8 OER University Concept Jim Taylor, USQ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

9 Findings Perceptions of the nature of prior learning Types of assessment protocols Costs

10 Prior learning: Language PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) in Canada PLA (Prior Learning Assessment) USA APEL (Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning) UK APL (Assessment of Prior Learning) USA RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) South Africa, Canada

11 Perceptions of the nature of prior learning Understanding of prior learning follows divisions of formal, informal, and non-formal learning: Formal learning: a credentialing institution Non-formal learning: workplace, societies, organisations, unions Informal learning: experiential or happenstance Rationale for its use includes issues of fairness, access, and economy.

12 Some examples of definitions from policy statements: UNISA Recognition for prior learning (RPL) means the comparison of the previous learning and experience of a learner, howsoever obtained, to the learning outcomes required for a specified qualification, and the acceptance for purposes of qualification of that which meets the requirements. (Definition accepted by SAQA, Regulation 452, No 18787, March 1998)

13 Australian Qualifications Framework Council Recognition of prior learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit. (National Quality Council Training packages glossary)

14 Otago Polytechnic (New Zealand) Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) are an internationally-recognised, academically valid way of recognising the knowledge that people have gained through their experience. departments/prior-learning-capable-nz.htmlhttp://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/schools- departments/prior-learning-capable-nz.html.

15 USA: Shoreline Community College and University of Memphis Credit for prior experiential learning is awarded only for college-level learning and must be related to the theories, practices, and content of the relevant academic field. (SCC, Policy 5162) Experiential Learning Credit (ELC) is college credit which is awarded based on formal and informal learning that results from worksite training, professional organization certification, community volunteerism, and unique life experiences.

16 Types of assessment protocols Language confusion thickens Initial distinction involves ‘transfer credit’: AU, Capella, Eastern Michigan State, Empire State College, Massey University AU: Transfer credit first University of Leicester: APCL (a credential exists); APEL Wawasan Open University (Malaysia): distinguishes between CA (Certificate Attestation) and WE (Work Experience)

17 Types of assessments

18 Costs A large variety of pricing models exist. Pricing models are dependent on institutional placement and approach to RPL, on type of service, on policy. Cost comparison of pricing models is complicated by program structures, degrees of government funding, fee differentiation among student population, fixed fee versus variable fee models and combinations of both.

19 Examples of fee types

20 Related thoughts: The understandable, the irrefutable, and the possible RPL paradigm is well understood and articulated across practicing institutions. Globally, institutions weigh and discuss similar RPL issues: access, quality, rigor, quality, policy, internal structures, learner support, assessment, cost, pedagogy, learners’ writing ability, fairness, culture. A varied methodological approach is acknowledged: portfolios, exams, interviews, demonstrations, workshop or course enrolment. RPL processes include facilitators, coaches, mentors, advisors. Costs and pricing models vary widely.

21 The possible RPL “offers a contestable and ambiguous terrain where different socio-economic and cultural assumptions and strategies can be differentially articulated. As a field of tension, it can be exploited by different groups, each emphasizing certain dimensions over others.” (Usher, Bryant, and Johnston, 1997,105)

22 Education Our Content Our Support Our Students Judith Murray, TRU

23 Education Any Content Any Support Any students Judith Murray, TRU OUR ASSESSMENT

24 Also possible… New, cost-effective hybrid solutions? Integrated assessment protocols (transfer credit, challenge-for-credit, portfolio learning) Enhanced portability for learners’ learning Increased access for learners

25 Thank you Dr. Dianne Conrad Dr. Rory McGreal


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