Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

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Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

Principal Investigator: David W. Livingstone
Team Members:
M. Raykov, K. Pollock, F. Antonelli


CHAPTER 3. Learning [PDF]


3.6. Prior Learning Assessment and


1. Aarts, S., Blower, D., Burke, R., Conlin, E., Howell, B., Howorth, C. E., et al. (1999). A slice of the iceberg: Cross-Canada study of prior learning assessment and recognition. Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada.


            Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a sound academic practice that contributes to adult learning by linking formal and informal learning. However, it has not been widely accepted by Canadian educational institutions. In 1996, a consortium of seven colleges and an independent PLAR consultant began a study to create a comprehensive database of PLAR learners and their characteristics, identify PLAR activities in participating institutions, analyze the effects of PLAR on students and the institutions, and compare the costs of credits achieved through PLAR with those produced through traditional course delivery. Study results found that: the average course grades of PLAR learners are as high or higher than those of traditional students in the same programs; PLAR strengthened adult learners' confidence and represented important efficiencies for part-time adult learners by shortening their programs; the low number of PLAR learners and programs signal that delivery of PLAR has not been economical for some institutions; early benefits from PLAR training within institutions diminished over time; and there is a need for greater public awareness of PLAR. The report concludes with a series of recommendations addressing institutions, public policy makers, adult learners, and workplaces.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Assessment; Educational Planning; Foreign Countries; Government School Relationship; Higher Education; Nontraditional Students; Program Implementation; Student Characteristics.


2. Andersson, P., & Fejes, A. (2005). Recognition of prior learning as a technique for fabricating the adult learner: A genealogical analysis on Swedish adult education policy. Journal of Education Policy, 20(5), 595-613.


            This article focuses on the recognition of prior learning and the figure of thought it represents in Swedish policy on adult education. It can be seen as a technique for governing the adult learner and a way of fabricating the subject. We are tracing this thought back in time to see how it has changed and what it consists of. The material analysed consists of Swedish official documents published between 1948 and 2004. We draw on two concepts from the Foucauldian toolbox: genealogy and governmentality. The result shows that this technique for governing and fabricating the adult subject is not new. It has been present during all periods analysed. However, there is a difference in how the ideas of competence and knowledge are stressed. Today the focus is on the subject's specific experience, which means competence. You are constructed as an adult with experiences that are to be evaluated. During the 1960s and 1970s the focus was rather on general experience. There was also discussion concerning the subject's ability to study. During the 1950s this figure of thought focused on ability was dominant. Those with the talent/ability to study were to be accepted for adult education.


            KEY WORDS: Prior Learning; Adult Education; Genealogy; Adult Students; Lifelong Learning; Educational Policy; Foreign Countries; Sweden.


3. Austin, Z., & Dean, M. R. (2006). Bridging education for foreign-trained professionals: The international pharmacy graduate (IPQ) program in Canada. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(1), 19-32.


            Demand for well-qualified health care professionals (including pharmacists) is projected to increase over the next 10 to 20 years. In many jurisdictions, immigration will become an increasingly important human resource to replace aging, retiring workers and drive ongoing economic prosperity and growth. Higher education has been an underutilized resource for foreign-trained professionals seeking re-qualification. Bridging education provides a structured system for continuing professional development of professionals, linked to existing curriculum, assessments and standards in higher education. The International Pharmacy Graduate Program in Ontario (Canada) has developed a model that has been recognized by the provincial government as a "best-practice" for bridging education. This model consists of four elements: prior learning assessment and recognition; university-benchmarked skills enhancement education; mentorship; and asynchronous learning opportunities. Success rates on licensing examinations for those completing all components of the program currently exceed 95%, indicating the value of bridging education.


            KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Prior Learning; Higher Education; Pharmacy; Licensing Examinations (Professions); Professional Development; Graduate Study; Mentors; Benchmarking; Canada; Prior Learning Assessment.


4. Bateman, A., & Knight, B. (2003). Giving credit: A review of RPL and credit transfer in the vocational education and training sector, 1995-2001. Leabrook (Australia): National Centre for Vocational Education Research.


            Recognition of prior learning (RPL) and credit transfer policy in Australia from 1995 to 2001 was examined through a review of Australian research discourse and an analysis of national data for the period. Selected findings were as follows: (1) RPL and credit transfer are most relevant to vocational education and training (VET) clients seeking full qualifications but are of negligible importance to students enrolled in non-award and subject-only programs; (2) among the factors that affect RPL and credit transfer rates, age appears to be the second in importance after the Australian Qualifications Framework category of the program undertaken; and (3) providers are offering RPL and credit transfer in different amounts. The following recommendations were offered to policymakers: (1) promote the term "assessment" to ensure that all purposes of assessment, including RPL, are clearly placed within the framework; (2) view RPL as a purpose of assessment with an important role in the training cycle, especially as a precursor to training; (3) investigate further analysis of the proposed benefits and barriers to RPL; and (4) conduct qualitative research to determine whether the current services offered by VET providers recognize the full extent of RPL and credit transfer entitlements among VET students.


            KEY WORDS: Credits; Definitions; Educational Certificates; Educational Policy; Educational Trends; Evaluation Criteria; Foreign Countries; Influences; Literature Reviews; Postsecondary Education; Prerequisites; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); Secondary Education; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Transfer Policy; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education.


5. Berge, Z. L., Muilenberg, L. Y., & Van Haneghan, J. (2002). Barriers to distance education and training: Survey results. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(4), 409-418.


            Discusses results of a survey that was conducted to understand and study the barriers to distance training and education. Considered work place; job function; type of delivery system used; individual expertise regarding distance education; the stage of the respondent's organization; and the subject area in which the respondent primarily worked.


            KEY WORDS: Distance Education; Prior Learning; Surveys; Training Methods; Work Environment.


6. Bjornavald, J. (2001). Making learning visible: Identification, assessment and recognition of nonformal learning. Vocational Training: European Journal(22), 24-32.


            Addresses issues in assessing and recognizing nonformal learning (validity, reliability, and standards). Reviews institutional and policy approaches in Europe at the country level and in initiatives by the European Union.


            KEY WORDS: Certification; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Nonformal Education; Recognition (Achievement); Europe.


7. Bjornavold, J. (2000). Making learning visible: Identification, assessment and recognition of non-formal learning in Europe. Thessaloniki: CEDEFOP.


            Policies and practices in the areas of identification, assessment, and recognition of nonformal learning in the European Union (EU) were reviewed. The review focused on national and EU-level experiences regarding the following areas and issues: recognition of the contextual nature of learning; identification of methodological requirements for assessing and recognizing nonformal learning; and institutional and political requirements. Special attention was paid to the following experiences: (1) the German and Austrian dual system approach; (2) the Mediterranean approach of viewing methodologies for assessment and recognition of nonformal learning as tools for quality improvement; (3) the diverse approaches of the Nordic countries; (4) the National Vocational Qualifications approach in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands; (5) the "opening up" of diplomas and certificates in France and Belgium; and (6) EU-level initiatives. The review established that, during the past few years, most EU member states have begun emphasizing the crucial role of learning that occurs outside of and in addition to formal education and training. This emphasis has led to an increasing number of political and practical initiatives that have in turn gradually shifted the issue from the stage of pure experimentation to that of early implementation.


            KEY WORDS: Admission Criteria; Adult Education; Adult Learning; Advanced Placement; Certification; Change Strategies; Comparative Analysis; Competence; Credits; Definitions; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Educational Environment; Educational Policy; Educational Quality; Educational Theories; Educational Trends; Employment Experience; Employment Qualifications; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Glossaries; Informal Education; International Cooperation; International Educational Exchange; Job Placement; Job Training; Learning Experience; Learning Processes; Lifelong Learning; National Programs; Nonformal Education; Nontraditional Education; Open Education; Policy Formation; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); School Business Relationship; Student Evaluation; Student Experience; Student Placement; Systems Approach; Transfer Policy; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education; Work Experience.


8. Blinkhorn, K. W. (1999). Prior learning assessment: An investigation of nonsponsored learning for college credits. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Toronto.


            Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) allows students to obtain credits toward their formal education for nonsponsored learning (i.e., material they have learned through non-traditional settings such as work experience or the home). Within the PLA framework, community colleges have implemented the portfolio development process as a way to assess prior learning - students organize and present nonsponsored learning in a document that satisfies the requirements of a college course. This exploratory case study examines how learners at Ontario Community Colleges (Canada) make meaning of their prior learning. In this study, data from interviews, a sample of portfolios, and classroom observations were initially analyzed according to five conceptual interpretations: (1) perception of learning; (2) learning style; (3) metacognitive abilities; (4) cognitive development; and (5) learners' needs. The study sample consisted of four students who were taking a community college portfolio development course, two students who had taken the portfolio development course and had successfully challenged a number of college credits, and three students who were eligible for the PLA process but did not take this option. The findings indicated that all of the students made meaning from their prior learning and applied it to their college studies.


            KEY WORDS: Alternative Assessment; Community Colleges; Employment Experience; Evaluation Methods; Nontraditional Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Student Experience; Two Year Colleges.


9. Borden-Ballard, E. M., & Sinclair, G. W. (2001). Mentorship & the development of rural leadership. In J. C. Montgomery & A. D. Kitchenham (Eds.), Issues affecting rural communities (II). Proceedings of the International Conference on Rural Communities & Identities in the Global Millennium. Nanaimo, May 1-5, 2000) (pp. 354-364). Nanaimo, BC: Malaspina University-College.


            Drawing on the experience of a 21-year mentoring relationship between two rural school administrators, this paper describes 11 components of an effective working mentorship. These elements are: establishing the relationship, the communications process, setting goals, determining skills, time commitment, broadening the protégé's horizons, additional benefits to the protégé, types and extent of interventions, leadership versus teamwork, linkages and connections, and benefits to the organization. This experience reflects current trends in the business community in which job-embedded learning, which includes mentoring, is considered to be a new paradigm for staff development. There is a need to develop more formal recognition of mentoring as a tool or avenue within a rural administrator's professional development program. Mentoring presents educators with an alternative to workshop-based professional development and other more traditional inservice learning programs and is more relevant to the situation of rural administrators and educators. The real challenge, however, is to find the way by which this entire activity can be incorporated into the academic accreditation process in a manner similar to that utilized by proponents of prior learning assessment.


            KEY WORDS: Administrator Education; Administrators; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Informal Education; Leadership Training; Lifelong Learning; Management Development; Mentors; Professional Development; Rural Schools.


10. Bowman, K., Clayton, B., Bateman, A., Knight, B., Thomson, P., Hargreaves, J., et al. (2003). Recognition of prior learning in the vocational education and training sector. Melbourne: Australian National Training Authority.


            Researchers examined the factors driving and impeding effective implementation of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in Australia's vocational education and training sector. The study relied on the following data collection activities: a literature review; an environmental scan of current policies and procedures; statistical analysis of national data; 128 structured interviews with individuals from 28 registered training organizations; focus groups; and a national forum. The existence of the Australian Quality Training Framework and ongoing interest in meeting access and equity obligations and client demands emerged as key drivers of RPL. RPL appeared less useful to young people than to older individuals. Uptake of RPL among equity groups was relatively low. No single barrier was identified as significantly affecting implementation of RPL. Some students chose not to apply for it, even when eligible, because they preferred the training itself and the experience of interacting with other students. The processes for RPL were identified as one factor that might affect RPL implementation in some contexts. Other factors included awareness and understanding of RPL and perceptions of its relevance. Nine specific strategies to facilitate more effective implementation of RPL were recommended for consideration by the National Training Qualifications Council.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Educational Policy; Educational Research; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Informal Education; Nonformal Education; Nontraditional Education; Participation; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); Secondary Education; Student Attitudes; Student Certification; Student Characteristics; Student Experience; Transfer Policy; Vocational Education; Work Experience.


11. Brown, J. O. (2001). The portfolio: A reflective bridge connecting the learner, higher education, and the workplace. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 49(2), 2-13.


            Interviews with eight adult students who completed portfolios illustrate how the process increased their awareness of professional accomplishments, enabled self-discovery and empowerment, helped them recognize the influence of mentors, and fostered deeper reflection. Results show how portfolios can promote holistic learning by connecting learning, the workplace, and the academy.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; Education Work Relationship; Higher Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Reflective Practice.


12. Brown, J. O., McCrink, C., & Maybee, R. (2003, 21 Apr). What employers want: How portfolio development fosters leadership and critical thinking in the workplace. Paper presented at the "Accountability for Educational Quality: Shared Responsibility" the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), April 21-25, 20, Chicago, IL.


            A study researched the impact of the portfolio development process as an instructional strategy that promotes increased critical thinking, organization, communication, and self-reflection abilities. The inquiry began with a case study of eight adult learners representative of the student population of a nontraditional undergraduate program with a portfolio component. Of 1,227 students, 348 responded to a 24-question survey using a 4-part Likert-type scale to assess students' portfolio experiences. Findings indicated, after developing a portfolio, adult students expressed a change in their understanding of their abilities and of themselves; gained learning competencies in enhancement of communication and organizational skills, a deeper reflective process, and greater understanding of how they accomplished what they did in their personal and professional lives; and better understood the role of work in their lives. Students valued the constructs of leadership/personal learning and of work-related learning, their respective survey items, and the learning obtained from engaging in the portfolio process. Findings indicated the portfolio's potential as an instructional tool to identify prior learning and engender increased competencies in many areas, including skills in organization, writing, critical thinking, and self-reflection.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; Adult Students; Communication Skills; Critical Thinking; Education Work Relationship; Educational Research; Employer Attitudes; Leadership; Learning Strategies; Nontraditional Education; Nontraditional Students; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Self Evaluation (Individuals); Skill Development; Teaching Methods; Undergraduate Study.


13. Cantwell, R. H., & Scevak, J. J. (2004). Engaging university learning: The experiences of students entering university via recognition of prior industrial experience. Higher Education Research and Development, 23(2), 131-145.


            In this study, the academic experiences of 33 male students from an industrial background were investigated as they completed a two-year education degree. The purpose of the study was to investigate the quality of student adjustment to an academic environment following extensive industrial training and experience. Students completed a series of questionnaires relating to learning as well as a series of open-ended questions relating to academic and social adjustment. Data indicated that while students had developed a positive learning profile, a continued belief in the structural simplicity of knowledge appeared to have a significant diminishing effect on the quality of adjustment and on the quality of learning outcomes. Open-ended responses revealed patterns of academic adjustment consistent with the restricted understanding of the nature of university learning. Implications of these data for both recognition of prior learning (RPL) entry and ongoing support are broached.


            KEY WORDS: Prior Learning; Educational Environment; Adjustment (to Environment); Industrial Training; Student Adjustment; Questionnaires; Student Attitudes; Metacognition; Males; Associate Degrees.


14. Castle, J., & Attwood, G. (2001). Recognition of prior learning (RPL) for access or credit? Problematic issues in a university adult education department in South Africa. Studies in the Education of Adults, 33(1), 60-72.


            The debate over whether recognition of prior learning (RPL) should focus on access or credit involves four issues: (1) challenges posed by the higher education environment; (2) the narrow instrumental view of curricula associated with RPL for credit; (3) the limitations of portfolios; and (4) relationship and status of different forms of knowledge.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adult Education; Credits; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning.


15. Childs, M., Ingham, V., & Wagner, R. (2002). Recognition of prior learning on the web - A case of Australian universities. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 42(1), 39-56.


            Recognition of prior learning (RPL) information on 38 Australian universities' websites was analyzed, with the following results: (1) research on universities' use of technology for student-institution interaction was lacking; (2) terms and definitions used for RPL were inconsistent, hard to find, or required a high level of knowledge; and (3) usefulness varied widely.


            KEY WORDS: Communication Problems; Credits; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Information Seeking; Prior Learning; Universities.


16. Clover, D. E., & Hall, B. L. (2000). In search of social movement learning: The growing jobs for living project. NALL Working Paper No. 18. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            The New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL) project is a Canada-wide 5-year research initiative during which more than 70 academic and community members are working collaboratively within a framework of informal learning to address the following issues: informal computer-based learning, recognition of prior learning, informal learning in a variety of social locations, learning within marginalized or disadvantaged cultures, and learning about school-to-work transitions. The NALL project's primary objective is to identify major social barriers to integrating informal learning with formal/nonformal learning and certification and to support new program initiatives to overcome such barriers. The NALL project's focus is on the informal and nonformal learning practices of people involved with the Growing Jobs for Living Project (GJOBS) in the Quinte bioregion, located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Canada. These learning practices are related to the principles and practices of environmental adult education, feminist adult education, and transformative learning. The global and ideational contexts of some of the major socio-environmental changes and problems that have affected the Quinte bioregion and been a catalyst for GJOBS were examined. The methods used to study the informal learning practices of GJOBS participants were reviewed. The major outcomes of the study were discussed from the standpoint of their relationship to the broader field of adult education.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adult Learning; Certification; Computer Uses in Education; Definitions; Education Work Relationship; Educational Environment; Educational Trends; Environmental Education; Informal Education; Integrated Curriculum; Interpersonal Attraction; Learning Theories; Lifelong Learning; Minority Groups; National Surveys; Nonformal Education; Outcomes of Education; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Research Methodology; Social Change; Transformative Learning; Transitional Programs; Women’s Education; Marginalized Groups


17. Coats, M. (1999). Lifelong learning policy and practice: The impact of accreditation on education and training provision for adult women in the UK. In Alheit. P. et. al. (eds.) (Ed.), Lifelong learning inside and outside schools. Contributions to the Second European Conference on Lifelong Learning, Bremen, 25-27 February 1999, Collected Papers (pp. 14). Bremen: Universität Bremen.


            In the United Kingdom, these two perspectives on lifelong learning sit uneasily together: emphasis on adults in employment and a focus on diversity and widening participation in adult education. A recent emphasis on accreditation with implications for funding has affected diversity and participation objectives because involving assessment, certification, or accreditation tends to discourage participation. The major question for adult educators is how accreditation can be used appropriately to recognize achievement while still promoting learning for the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised portion of the population. Higher and further education institutions, local authority adult education departments, voluntary organizations, and training programs for women were surveyed to determine how accreditation affects provision designed specifically for women. Findings indicated a need to reconsider threshold or entry provision for women in groups that have previously been under- or un-represented in adult education and training. A longitudinal case study of how required accreditation was implemented by a women's training scheme in a rural mining area found that some valued outcomes such as personal development and growth were difficult to quantify and assess. Despite being recognized as an example of good practice in developing the potential of women and providing quality training, the local authority decided the program was not cost effective and training opportunities for other disadvantaged groups had to be given priority, an outcome indicative of the tensions of implementing lifelong learning.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Accreditation (Institutions); Adult Education; Developed Nations; Disadvantaged; Displaced Homemakers; Educational Certificates; Educational Finance; Employment Qualifications; Empowerment; Evaluation Problems; Females; Foreign Countries; Individual Development; Job Skills; Lifelong Learning; National Standards; Needs Assessment; Outcomes of Education; Public Policy; Reentry Students; Reentry Workers; Rural Areas; Special Needs Students; Student Certification; Student Financial Aid; Training; Transformative Learning; Women’s Education.


18. Colardyn, D. (2001). Legitimacy of measuring. Assessment and certification of lifelong learning. Lifelong Learning in Europe, 6(2), 97-103.


            Assessment of informal and nonformal learning requires resolution of three questions: how to define competencies, how to measure them, and how to ensure the legitimacy of the measure. Assessment and certification procedures must be well defined and robust, with quality assurance methods accepted by all stakeholders.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Assessment; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Informal Education; Nonformal Education; Prior Learning.


19. Commander, N. E., & Valeri-Gold, M. (2001). The learning portfolio: A valuable tool for increasing metacognitive awareness. Learning Assistance Review, 6(2), 5-18.


            Discusses how instructors working with at-risk students have effectively used a learning portfolio to increase metacognitive awareness. Describes the learning portfolio as a method that facilitates student participation via a self-assessment of what they have learned about learning. Appended are directions for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a learning portfolio.


            KEY WORDS: College Outcomes Assessment; Educationally Disadvantaged; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; High Risk Students; Higher Education; Journal Writing; Outcomes of Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Student Journals.


20. Cournoyer, B. R., & Stanley, M. J. (2002). The social work portfolio: Planning, assessing and documenting lifelong learning in a dynamic profession. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.


            This book is designed to help social work students prepare a social work portfolio to be used as a learning guide, and following graduation, as a tool to maintain their social work licenses or other pertinent professional credentials. There are independent and collaborative group learning exercises as well as portfolio preparation exercises throughout the book. Chapter 1 introduces the social work portfolio and explores its relationship to learning. Contemporary social work practice is presented in the context of lifelong learning. Chapter 2 explores learning styles and psychological types, including multiple intelligences and emotional intelligence. Chapter 3 presents self-assessment tools to determine social work learning needs by exploring level of knowledge and expertise in content areas most relevant for contemporary social workers. Chapter 4 includes assessment tools for prior learning, general career planning guidelines, and methods to identify an ideal social work position. Resume and supplementary document preparation are discussed. Chapter 5 discusses specific learning goals and objectives and preparation of an individual learning plan. Chapter 6 presents guidelines for compilation and assessment of a portfolio with an emphasis on learning activities during an academic program of study. Suggestions are made for adaptation and use of the portfolio throughout a professional career. Appendices include: a lifelong learning questionnaire; common phases of a professional social work career; index of learning styles; self-assessment of social work knowledge survey; social work interests instrument; sample cover letter; list of action verbs for use in developing learning plans; and a social work portfolio documents checklist.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Development; Career Development; Career Information Systems; Career Ladders; Career Planning; Check Lists; Cognitive Style; Competency Based Education; Cooperative Learning; Credentials; Education Work Relationship; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Informal Assessment; Interest Inventories; Job Skills; Knowledge Level; Learning Activities; Learning Strategies; Lifelong Learning; Multiple Intelligences; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Professional Development; Professional Education; Psychological Characteristics; Questionnaires; Rating Scales; Resumes (Personal); Self Evaluation (Individuals); Social Work; Social Workers; Student Educational Objectives; Surveys; Theory Practice Relationship; Transfer of Training.


21. Dealtry, R. (2003). Issues relating to learning accreditation in corporate university management. Journal of Workplace Learning, 15(2), 80-86.


            Considers the role of learning accreditation in relation to demand for quality assurance in organizational learning. Develops a four-dimensional management perspective that outlines four pathways of learning: learning needs in relation to aspirations, academic learning, learning to qualify for professional practice, and learning to sustain career and organizational objectives.


            KEY WORDS: Career Development; Corporate Education; Credits; Educational Objectives; Higher Education; Personnel Management; Prior Learning; Student Certification; Quality Assurance.


22. Dochy, F., Moerkerke, G., & Segers, M. (1999). The effect of prior knowledge on learning in educational practice: Studies using prior knowledge state assessment. Evaluation and Research in Education, 13(3), 114-131.


            Studied the use of prior knowledge state assessment for enhancing learning through a series of experiments involving college students (n=112, n=1,159, n=1,081). Results show that beginning students are especially willing to use prior knowledge state assessment and appear to benefit more from its use.


            KEY WORDS: College Students; Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; Knowledge Level; Prior Learning; Self Evaluation (Individuals).


23. Donaldson, J. E., & Graham, S. W. (2002). Accelerated degree programs: Design and policy implications. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 50(2), 2-13.


            Suggested principles for designing accelerated degree programs for adults are provided the following components of a model of adult learning: prior experience/personal biographies psychosocial and value orientation, the connecting classroom (relating life experiences and academic learning), adult cognition, the life-world environment, and college outcomes.


            KEY WORDS: Acceleration (Education); Adult Students; Cognitive Processes; Degrees (Academic); Higher Education; Outcomes of Education; Prior Learning; Program Design.


24. Donoghue, J., Pelletier, D., Adams, A., & Duffield, C. (2002). Recognition of prior learning as university entry criteria is successful in postgraduate nursing students. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39(1), 54-62.


            Reports a comparison of academic achievements in graduate nursing programs between those with undergraduate qualifications and those admitted using a recognition of prior learning (RPL) initiative. Results indicate that the academic achievement of the hospital-trained nurses was similar to those admitted with a formal qualification.


            KEY WORDS: Academic Achievement; Comparative Analysis; Education; Graduate Study; Higher Education; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing Education; Professional Education; Qualifications.


25. Evans, N. E. (2000). Experiential learning around the world: Employability and the global economy. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis.


            This comprehensive study explores the chronological and geographical expansion of the assessment of adult and experiential learning - known as AP(E)L - around the world. The authors describe and compare initiatives in their own countries and their effectiveness at the levels of government, educational institutions, and employment. They highlight AP(E)L's essential role in the adaptation of higher education to the competitive global market. The 11 chapters are "AP(E)L: Why? Where? How? Setting the International Scene" (Norman Evans); "Recognizing Learning Outside of Schools in the United States of America" (Morris T. Keeton); "The Evolution of AP(E)L in England" (Norman Evans); "Canada: The Story of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition" (Deborah Blower); "France: The Story of La Validation des Acquis (Recognition of Experiential Learning" (Michel Feutrie); "Scotland: The Story of the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning" (Norman Sharp, Fiona Reeve, Ruth Whittaker); "The Republic of Ireland: The Story of the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning" (Denis McGrath); "The Recognition of Prior Learning in Australia: An Ambivalent Relationship with the Academy, Competency-Based Education, and the Market" (Rick Flowers, Geof Hawke); "Recognition of Prior Learning: The Promise and the Reality for New Zealanders" (Phil Ker, Mary Melrose, Maureen Reid); "Learning Assessment in South Africa" (Yunus Ballim, Rahmat Omar, Alan Ralphs); and "2000 Plus?" (Norman Evans).


            KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; Developed Nations; Developing Nations; Employment Potential; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Global Approach; Informal Assessment; International Educational Exchange; Postsecondary Education; Program Effectiveness; Student Evaluation.


26. Feltham, N. F., & Downs, C. T. (2002). Three forms of assessment of prior knowledge, and improved performance following an enrichment programme, of English second language biology students within the context of a marine theme. International Journal of Science Education, 24(2), 157-184.


            Reports on the assessment of student background knowledge along a continuum of language dependency using a set of three probes. Examines improved student performance in each of the respective assessments on the extent to which a sound natural history background facilitated meaningful learning relative to English as Second Language (ESL) proficiency. Indicates that students did not perceive language to be a problem in biology.


            KEY WORDS: Academic Achievement; Biology; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Marine Education; Prior Learning; Science Education; Second Language Learning.


27. Fjortoft, N. F., & Zgarrick, D. P. (2001). Survey of prior learning assessment practices in pharmacy education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 65(1), 44-52.


            Surveyed nontraditional Pharm.D (NTPD) program directors to determine use of prior learning assessment (PLA). Eighty-four percent of respondents reported using PLA for one or more purposes, including the admissions process and awarding of advanced standing for didactic and experiential courses. Transcript review, faculty-developed exams, and portfolios are the most commonly used methods of PLA in NTPD programs.


            KEY WORDS: Admission Criteria; College Credits; Nontraditional Education; Pharmaceutical Education; Prior Learning; School Surveys.


28. Gereluk, W., Briton, D., & Spencer, B. (2000). Canadian labour education and PLAR at the turn of the century. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 14(1), 75-88.


            Analyzes Canadian labor education courses and materials in terms of types of training, participants, instructors' objectives, and criteria for success. Concludes that labor education is preparing union members to participate in union and community affairs through the acquisition of transferable skills.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Educational Research; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Prior Learning; Unions.


29. Gereluk, W. (2001). Labour education in Canada today: A PLAR report. NALL Working Paper No. 47. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            This report provides information on the content and nature of labor education in Canada. Section A outlines the study's purposes to explain why labor education should be considered for prior learning assessment and recognition purposes. Section B describes the theoretical framework and methodology and explains the attempt to canvass a reasonably representative sample of labor education provided by and for trade unions. Section C highlights the aims and objectives of labor education, with particular reference to differing objectives of the host trade unions. Section D describes steward training and relates details of this education to functions and expectations unions typically assign to these worksite representatives. Section E completes the descriptions with an overview of content of labor education programs provided by and for Canada's unions. Section F identifies other events and learning activities provided by and for Canada's unions. Section G provides a sample of approaches taken by unions in selecting labor education participants. Section H describes procedures for choosing trainers who deliver labor education and their roles. Section I discusses delivery methods trade unions use for their labor education courses and activities and the rationale for these practices. Section J examines aspects of the labor education program of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers' Union of Canada. Section K provides conclusions and observations.


            KEY WORDS: Admission Criteria; Adult Education; Educational Objectives; Educational Research; Industrial Training; Labor Education; Prior Learning; Program Content; Trainers; Unions; Member Union Relationship; Shop Stewards.


30. Gibbs, P. T., & Morris, A. F. (2001). The accreditation of work experience: Whose interests are being served? Learning Organization, 8(2), 82-88.


            Employing organizations are the main beneficiaries of accreditation of work-based learning. Universities involved in providing it need to safeguard the interests of learners and society from exploitation. Work-based learning needs to be viewed beyond the narrow skills and competencies approach, recognizing and valuing practical judgment in job performance.


            KEY WORDS: Accreditation (Institutions); Employer Employee Relationship; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Work Experience.


31. Gibbs, P., & Angelides, P. (2004). Accreditation of knowledge as being-in-the-world. Journal of Education and Work, 17(3), 333-346.


            This article considers the nature of experiential learning and its relationship with other forms of learning that gain their authority through assessment. It argues that experiential learning is grounded in, and stands upon, the notion of phronesis and is the goal of an educated populace. This argument, should it prevail, would see wisdom as the goal of education which is revealed in becoming wise through being-in-the-world. To consider a person a phronomis is not to credentialise her by separating her self-knowledge from her in some externality but to recognise her as being knowledgeable and wise rather than having knowledge. This distinction is evident in skills for work where success is not just in knowing how but is in doing. We suggest in this article that higher education ought not enframe students through assessment practices but liberate them in a mode of learning that reflects Heidegger's notion of 'letting learn'. Given the validity of this argument the central role of the recognition of prior leaning for higher education is developed as the most appropriate mode of revelation of this wisdom. Heidegger is used throughout as a guide.


            KEY WORDS: Higher Education; Experiential Learning; Prior Learning; Knowledge Level; Student Evaluation; Evaluation Methods; Education Work Relationship.


32. Glendenning, F. (2000). Teaching and learning in later life: Theoretical implications. Studies in educational gerontology. Brookfield: Ashgate.


            This book contains nine papers on the development of education for older adults in the United Kingdom and Canada against the background of an aging population and the challenge of lengthening life expectancy. "Foreword" (David James) presents an overview of the book's contents and underscores the importance of motivation to learning in later life. "The Education for Older Adults 'Movement': An Overview" traces developments in self-help education for older adults, including university-of-the-third-age and continuing education programs. The following are among the topics discussed in "Some Critical Implications": lifelong learning; critical theory; the functionalist paradigm; the context of old age; liberation and empowerment; hegemony; andragogy; and critical educational gerontology. "Critical and Educational Gerontology: Relationships and Future Developments" (Chris Phillipson) considers critical gerontology in relation to the crisis of old age, the issue of identity, the self in old age, and emancipation. "Changing Attitudes to Ageing" examines age-related stereotypes and strategies for changing attitudes toward aging. "Education for Older People: The Moral Dimension" (Robert Elmore) argues that access to educational gerontology should become a public policy priority. "Critical Educational Gerontology and the Imperative to Empower" (Sandra Cusack) operationalizes the concept of empowerment in the areas of leadership training and mental fitness and identifies techniques to empower older learners. "Educational and Social Gerontology: Necessary Relationships" explores the relationship between education gerontology and social gerontology. "The Debate Continues: Integrating Educational Gerontology with Lifelong Learning" (Alexandra Withnall) considers issues in the debate surrounding the philosophical and emerging theoretical approaches to educating people who are beyond working age. "Teaching and Learning in Later Life: Considerations for the Future" makes a case for further development of the theoretical basis of educational provision for older adults.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Adult Students; Aging (Individuals); Andragogy; Attitude Change; Continuing Education; Educational Gerontology; Educational Needs; Educational Objectives; Educational Theories; Educational Trends; Empowerment; Foreign Countries; Learning Theories; Lifelong Learning; Needs Assessment; Older Adults; Personal Autonomy; Population Trends; Postsecondary Education; Public Policy; Role of Education; Rural Education; Self Determination; Social Change; Stereotypes; Student Needs; Theory Practice Relationship; Trend Analysis; Urban Education.


33. Goldberg, M. P., & Corson, D. (1999). Immigrant and aboriginal first languages as prior learning qualifications for formal employment in the business, government and education sectors. NALL Working Paper No. 22. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            The extent to which Canadian employers recognize the informally acquired first languages of immigrants and aboriginal persons as prior learning qualifications for formal employment in the business, government, and education sectors was examined through a survey of organizations across Ontario. Personalized questionnaires were mailed to a sample of 140 Ontario organizations, as follows: 32 businesses (half randomly selected and half purposively selected); 71 colleges, universities, and school boards; and 37 municipal, provincial, and federal government agencies and psychiatric hospitals. Of the 140 questionnaires mailed out, 79 (56.4%) were returned. Although 88.6% of the organizations indicated that they would benefit from employing staff fluent in languages in addition to English or French, only 30.4% were actually actively recruiting such multilingual employees. Private organizations were more likely to recruit multilingual individuals and educational institutions were least likely to do so (52.9% and 25.7%, respectively). The methods used to evaluate potential bilingual employees' language proficiency were as follows: interviews (25.8%); employer references (18.6%); and formal qualifications and personal references (13.4%). Educational institutions used formal qualifications to assess language fluency much more often than other types of organizations did (20%, 10%, and 7.6% for academic institutions, private organizations, and public organizations, respectively).


            KEY WORDS: Bilingualism; Boards of Education; Canada Natives; Colleges; Employer Attitudes; Employment Practices; Employment Qualifications; Evaluation Methods; Federal Government; Foreign Countries; Immigrants; Indigenous Populations; Language Attitudes; Language Minorities; Language Proficiency; Literature Reviews; Native Speakers; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Private Sector; Psychiatric Hospitals; Public Sector; Recruitment; Secondary Education; State Agencies; Universities.


34. Greenwood, M. E., Hayes, A. E., Turner, C. E., & Vorhaus, J. E. (2001). Recognising and validating outcomes of non-accredited learning: A practical approach. Retrieved July, 2006, from ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/0d/ef/7a.pdf


            A group of adult educators in England conducted seven case studies to identify strategies for recognizing adult students' learning progress in nonaccredited programs. The case studies identified the following elements of good practice in the process of recording and validating achievement: (1) initial identification of learning objectives; (2) initial assessment of learners; (3) negotiation of learning objectives with learners; (4) learning self-assessment; (5) ongoing formative assessment; (6) progression advice and guidance; (7) a record of achievement; (8) moderation of assessment; and (9) celebration of achievement. A framework for good practice was identified, along with key issues and areas for further research and development.


            KEY WORDS: Academic Achievement; Adult Education; Adult Educators; Case Studies; Definitions; Educational Objectives; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Foreign Countries; Formative Evaluation; Guidelines; Models; Nonformal Education; Postsecondary Education; Program Evaluation; Program Validation; Questionnaires; Recognition (Achievement); Recordkeeping; Records (Forms); Self Evaluation (Individuals); Student Attitudes; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Teacher Researchers; Best Practices; England; Nonaccredited Colleges.


35. Guggenheim, E. F. E. (2002). AGORA V: Identification, evaluation and recognition of non-formal learning. (Thessaloniki, Greece, March 15-16, 1999) CEDEFOP panorama series. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.


            This document contains papers from a meeting on identification, evaluation, and recognition of nonformal learning in the European Union. The following papers are included: "Identification, Assessment, and Recognition of Non-Formal Learning: European Tendencies" (Jens Bjornavold); "Why Measure Human Capital?" (Riel Miller); "Mobility and Social Cohesion" (Eric Fries Guggenheim); "Social Partners' Round Table - Is There Any Consensus on the Validation of Non-Formal Learning and If So, What?" (Eugenio Rosa, Mike Coles, Donald Kerr); "Work-Related Projects on New Methods of Skill Definition and Accreditation: Moves Towards a Personal Skills Medium in the USA and in Europe" (Barbara Jones, Kari Hadjivassiliou); "The Recognition and Validation of Informal Learning in France" (Anne-Marie Charraud); "Finnish Competence-Based Qualifications - Organization, Assessment, and Legitimacy" (Petri Haltia); "Accreditation of Non Formal Learning in the Netherlands" (Marian Nieskens, Ruud Klarus); "Examination of the Requirements for Successful Validation of Vocational Learning - The Issue of Legitimacy" (Jens Bjornavold); "A Few Features of the Situation in France - The Views of CFDT (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) on the Measurement of Informally Acquired Competences" (Jose Danilo); and "Social Partners' Round-Table Discussion: the Validation of Prior Learning: What Can We Build Together?" (Juan Maria Memendez-Valdes, Hjordis Dalsgaard, Nikolaus Bley).


            KEY WORDS: Academic Standards; Adult Learning; Comparative Analysis; Competence; Definitions; Educational Objectives; Educational Trends; Employment Qualifications; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Human Capital; Identification; Job Skills; Lifelong Learning; Measurement Techniques; Meetings; Needs Assessment; Nonformal Education; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); Reliability; Secondary Education; Social Integration; Social Mobility; Standard Setting; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Trend Analysis; Validity; Vocational Education.


36. Harris, J. (1999). Ways of seeing the recognition of prior learning (RPL): What contribution can such practices make to social inclusion? Studies in the Education of Adults, 31(2), 124-139.


            Describes four models of recognition of prior learning (PL): (1) procrustean - PL is made to match predetermined standards; (2) learning and development - PL approximates implicit academic standards; (3) radical - subjective knowledge is recognized as an alternative to dominant forms; and (4) Trojan-horse - PL is seen as socially constructed and valued in and of itself.


            KEY WORDS: Academic Standards; Credits; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Prior Learning.


37. Heitmann, G. (2001). European structures of qualification levels: Reports on recent developments in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom (England and Wales). Volume 3. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.


            Recent trends and developments related to the structures of qualification levels in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom were examined in a quasi-experimental study that was part of a more comprehensive study on the same topic. The study focused on standards, qualifications, and classifications at the tertiary level of the German educational system and the categorization of qualifications at the tertiary level in England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. The study documented that the discussion of how to ensure the transparency of qualifications and their adequate categorization in all-embracing classification systems at the national and transnational levels is increasing throughout the European Union. Different countries are taking different routes to improving the transparency and comparability of qualifications in higher education. At the tertiary level, German considerations and concepts show an increasing trend toward outcome-based standards. The same also applies to England, France, and the Netherlands. In Spain, the national classification system is currently in the introductory phase, with efforts currently concentrated on vocational qualifications at the secondary level.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Articulation (Education); Certification; Classification; Comparative Analysis; Comparative Education; Credentials; Definitions; Educational Planning; Educational Policy; Educational Practices; Educational Trends; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Literature Reviews; Models; National Standards; National Surveys; Nonformal Education; Occupational Mobility; Policy Formation; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Qualifications; Standard Setting; State of the Art Reviews; Synthesis; Systems Approach; Transfer Policy; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education; Work Experience.


38. Huggins, J., & Murphy, R. (1999). Reflecting on experience and building on hard earned knowledge - A practical application of action learning. Australian Journal of Adult and Community Education, 39(1), 28-34.


            Action-learning techniques and acknowledgment of prior experience are components of integrated workshops for Australian agriculture producers in a program known as Futureprofit. Evaluations show the program effectively improves producers' planning, communication, and decision making through adherence to adult learning principles.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Agricultural Production; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Prior Learning; Workshops.


39. Hughes, M., & Turner, P. (Eds.). (2002). Mapping research into the delivery of work-based learning. London: Learning & Skills Development Agency.


            This report provides a summary of findings from research into work-related education and training undertaken over the last five years by organizations then called the Further Education Development Agency (FEDA) and Quality and Performance Improvement Dissemination (QPID) Unit of the Department for Education and Employment. Cross-references to relevant material are included in the individual topic-related sections. After an introduction, Section 2 lists overarching messages and provides a summary of key findings and their implications for post-16 learning. Sections 3-13 report findings for specific aspects of post-16 learning. Each section includes keywords; summary of key messages from FEDA /QPID research; and further details of the key FEDA/QPID research findings. The 11 aspects of post-16 learning considered are the learner and learning experience; learning facilitators (teacher /trainer/assessor/mentor); teaching and learning methods; the content of learning programs; assessment and qualifications; quality and inspection; barriers to participation; equal opportunities; learners, learning, and the labor market; policy /program development; and operational management. Appendixes include annotated bibliographies of 78 topic-related FEDA and 60 topic-related QPID materials; a 230-item bibliography of further QPID information; and a glossary. The annotated bibliography entries include audience, purpose, and which topic(s) are addressed.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adult Education; Annotated Bibliographies; Basic Skills; Career Education; Developed Nations; Educational Certificates; Educational Quality; Educational Research; Equal Education; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Industrial Training; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Market; Out of School Youth; Prior Learning; Staff Development; Student Certification; Vocational Education; Barriers to Participation; United Kingdom.


40. Liaroutzos, O., Sulzer, E., Besucco, N., & Lozier, F. (2001). The accreditation of qualifications in France: What role for joint inter-occupational supervision? Training & Employment, 45(October-December), 1-4.


            The French worker certification system is focusing on efforts to design a scheme for the accreditation of work-based learning. If implemented, the scheme would be directed by a business-government-worker partnership, recognized and accepted by different occupations, and accessible to all employees regardless of the way their qualifications were acquired. Applicable to a labor market characterized by discontinuous work experiences and precarious employment conditions, such a mechanism would permit worker mobility between jobs and complement the traditional certification regime. Important issues in this effort include: (1) developing standards according to common rules to allow comparison between occupations; (2) establishing student evaluation using multiple forms, such as combining one or more of interview, test, observation and simulation; and (3) structuring qualifications to demonstrate mastery of an occupation or elements of multiple occupations to help create individual career paths.


            KEY WORDS: Accrediting Agencies; Adult Education; Competence; Competency Based Education; Coordination; Developed Nations; Economic Impact; Educational Planning; Employment Level; Employment Opportunities; Employment Patterns; Employment Potential; Employment Qualifications; Foreign Countries; Informal Education; Job Analysis; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Market; Labor Needs; Labor Relations; Labor Supply; Minimum Competencies; National Standards; Nontraditional Education; Occupational Information; Occupational Mobility; On-the-Job Training Partnerships in Education; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Promotion (Occupational); Protocol Analysis; Public Policy; School Business Relationship; Skill Analysis; Social Planning; Standard Setting; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Transfer of Training; Vocational Education; Vocational Evaluation; Work Experience.


41. Lior, K., Martin, D. A., & Morais, A. (2001). Tacit skills, informal knowledge and reflective practice. NALL Working Paper No. 24. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            Community sites provide a range of pictures of “adult learning” in this research report. By interviews and by work with a Skills and Knowledge Profile, we note patterns of gender, culture, employment status, and strength of social organization when identifying learning needs and recording learning experiences.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Adult Literacy; Adult Programs; Community Education; Community Organizations; Females; Informal Education; Learning Strategies; Lifelong Learning; Literacy Education; Prior Learning; Reflective Teaching; Unions; Work Based Learning.


42. Martens, R., & Hermans, H. (2000). Internet based formative prior knowledge assessment. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 26(3), 245-258.


            Developed seven Internet-delivered tests of prior knowledge for distance education students in the Netherlands interested in gaining information about future studies. Analysis of 151 responses received through the Web site showed student appreciation of the instruments and the assessment process.


            KEY WORDS: College Students; Computer Assisted Testing; Distance Education; Evaluation Methods; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Internet; Prior Learning; Student Attitudes; Test Construction; Netherlands.


43. Meyers, D., & Blom, K. (2001). Training package implementation: Innovative and flexible approaches. Canberra: Centre Undertaking Research in Vocational Education.


            The implementation of training packages (TPs) in Australian workplaces was examined through case studies of the use of TPs in nontraditional trade areas by six innovative registered training organizations (RTOs) across Australia. The study focused on the extent to which new and flexible approaches to learning, training delivery, and assessment have been used in implementation of TPs. The study RTOs delivered training and assessment in a broad range of TPs, including TPs from the following occupational areas: entertainment; community services; outdoor recreation; and horticulture. The six RTOs included an enterprise-based RTO, a community-based RTO, and four public RTOs (including one technical and further education institute and two institutes of technology). All six RTOs used innovative and flexible approaches to delivery and assessment of TPs. Learners' needs were the central focus for framing processes. Previous experience with competency-based training and assessment was said to facilitate uptake of TPs. Most providers used multiple pathways to qualifications, including a mix of on-the-job and off-the-job training and assessment strategies. Recognition of current competency and recognition of prior learning were being used extensively. Collaboration and close liaison with industry was allowing providers to access valuable enterprise resources for training. Many nontraditional-type trainers and learners were involved with TPs.


            KEY WORDS: Agricultural Occupations; Case Studies; Community Services; Competence; Competency Based Education; Definitions; Delivery Systems; Education Work Relationship; Evaluation Methods; Flexible Progression; Foreign Countries; Horticulture; Hospitality Occupations; Innovation; Job Training; Learning Modules; Nontraditional Occupations; On-the-Job Training Performance Factors; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); School Business Relationship; Student Evaluation; Success; Technical Institutes; Trade and Industrial Education; Trainers; Training Methods.


44. Morais, A., Lior, K., & Martin, D. A. (2001). Revolution of experiences: Evolution of the skills and knowledge profile. NALL Working Paper No. 34. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            The Skills and Knowledge Profile (SKP) is a tool developed in Canada to document learning styles and strategies of adult learners. The instrument was developed as a systematic approach to capturing the learning styles of unemployed and employed adults across sectors. It is made up of these six sections: (1) Learning Access and Personal Information; (2) Personal Informal Learning; (3) Job-Related Informal Learning; (4) Non-Formal Courses and Workshops; (5) Future Learning Plans; and (6) Your Comments on the Profile. The SKP was created through action-based research using learners in a unionized factory, community-based women's employment program, and community-based literacy program. Volunteers at all three sites committed their time and efforts to filling out the SKP and then provided feedback on the clarity, usefulness, and ease of using the tool. Feedback has been incorporated into the SKP in a continuous process. The evaluation can be used by individuals to sort out their skills and to focus their efforts on a career path. The SKP is not only a tool, but also a reflection of a positive trend in adult education by which adult learners build on and share their own wealth of knowledge and skills.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Basic Education; Adult Learning; Educational Assessment; Educational Attitudes; Educational Experience; Educational Needs; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Informal Education; Measurement; Needs Assessment; Prior Learning; Student Experience; Work Experience.


45. Osman, R. (2004). Access, equity and justice: Three perspectives on recognition of prior learning (RPL) in higher education. Perspectives in Education, 22(4), 139-146.


            This article outlines three theoretical perspectives that have emerged in the literature on RPL and that are useful in understanding the complexities around prior learning, the human capital perspective, the liberal humanist perspective and the social constructivist perspective. Although each approach has its own blind spots and its own critics, it is argued that conversations between and within these perspectives are valuable for educators who in the final analysis are the ones who have to design and implement RPL practices that are educationally defensible and socially just.


            KEY WORDS: Prior Learning; Human Capital; Constructivism (Learning); Higher Education; Equal Education; Justice; Access to Education.


46. Peruniak, G., & Welch, D. (2000). The twinning of potential: Toward an integration of prior learning assessment with career development. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 34(3), 232-245.


            Argues that prior learning assessment is an integral part of the field of career development. Highlights some common features in the work of practitioners of prior leaning assessment and career development. Emphasizes that the commonalties of purpose should not be sacrificed to battles of professional identity. Discusses a program that has successfully integrated prior learning assessment and career development.


            KEY WORDS: Career Development; Foreign Countries; Literature Reviews.


47. Peters, H. (2005). Contested discourses: Assessing the outcomes of learning from experience for the award of credit in higher education. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(3), 273-285.


            When mature students enter higher education they bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience gained in their lives outside of education. A majority of higher education institutions in the UK and elsewhere around the world have now set up systems for recognizing and accrediting such learning. However the processes of assessing learning from experience tend to conform to other higher education assessment processes, originally devised for the assessment of learning gained through study in an educational context. This poses a dilemma for the students presenting their learning for assessment, those advising or guiding them and those assessing the learning. How can learning gained in a life/work setting be quantified and evaluated in academic terms? What happens in this process? This paper takes a discourse analysis approach to examine the process from both student and assessor perspectives, and proposes some strategies for bridging the gap in discourse between the outside world and academia.


            KEY WORDS: Discourse Analysis; Higher Education; Learning Experience; Student Evaluation; Foreign Countries; Adult Students; Evaluation Methods; Prior Learning; College Credits; United Kingdom.


48. Romaniuk, K., & Snart, F. (2000). Enhancing employability: The role of prior learning assessment and portfolios. Career Development International, 5(6), 318-322.


            Discusses how the use of prior learning assessment, especially with portfolios, can enable workers to take greater responsibility for their career development and shift emphasis from employment to employability.


            KEY WORDS: Career Development; Employment Potential; Job Skills; Portfolio Assessment; Prior Learning; Staff Development.


49. Sawchuk, P. (2001). The final report of the "learning capacities in the community and workplace project": Unioned industrial workplace site (Ontario). NALL Working Paper No. 45. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            The Ontario Industrial Workers' research site offered a basic analysis of issues relevant to the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) research and the labor education community. Project goals revolved around the need to examine development and applications of a new PLAR instrument, the Skills and Knowledge Profile (SKP), which is uniquely suited to examine the types of strategies, practices, and capacities that working class participants typically use. Primarily qualitative data from interviews were analyzed. SKP exhibited "situated" dimensions which, from a worker's standpoint, largely determined the perceived effectiveness of the instrument. Social organization of skills, knowledge, and learning processes were seen as a significant issue in the context of working class learning strategies, workers' practices, and progressive application of PLAR instruments such as SKP. In discussions of PLAR, SKP, and labor unions, notions of class consciousness were intertwined with informal learning relations. Intersection of class consciousness and development of critical views on the power relations among forms and conceptions of skill and knowledge led to the notion of a Workers' Knowledge Bank. In in-depth discussions, workers indicated the practical use/value was embedded within the process of administration itself and SKP provoked new understandings of one's own skills.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Developed Nations; Foreign Countries; Industrial Training; Informal Education; Labor Education; Learning Strategies; Participatory Research; Prior Learning; Self Evaluation (Individuals); Social Cognition; Test Construction; Unions; Working Class; Ontario (Toronto).


50. Serafino, K., & Cicchelli, T. (2003). Cognitive theories, prior knowledge, and anchored instruction on mathematical problem solving and transfer. Education and Urban Society, 36(1), 79-93.


            Tested the effects of prior knowledge and two instructional models - structured problem solving and guided generation (GG) - on mathematical problem solving and transfer to an analogous task. Data on students with high and low prior knowledge highlighted significant main effects for prior knowledge, significant differences on transfer to analogous tasks, significant between-group differences on favoring the GG model, and significant interaction between low priors and GG treatment on transfer.


            KEY WORDS: Constructivism (Learning); Disadvantaged Youth; Elementary/ Secondary Education; Epistemology; Mathematics Education; Prior Learning; Problem Based Learning; Problem Solving; Urban Schools.


51. Sewell, P. M. (2000). Mature students in part-time higher education - Perceptions of skills. Innovations in Education and Training International, 37(4), 304-313.


            Explores the interface between skills used outside college and those perceived as relevant to studies in college, based on a survey of mature part-time undergraduate students. Respondents also rated personal abilities and characteristics of mature students and offered suggestions for integrating their skills and experience into the study programs.


            KEY WORDS: Ability; Adult Students; Experience; Higher Education; Individual Characteristics; Part Time Students; Prior Learning; Skill Analysis; Student Characteristics; Student Surveys; Undergraduate Students.


52. Starr-Glass, D., & Schwartzbaum, A. (2003). A liminal space: Challenges and opportunities in accreditation of prior learning in Judaic studies. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(2), 179-192.


            Regarding the accreditation of prior learning of Judaic studies, reviews the difficulties of criterion selection, current accreditation techniques, and those elements of the ultra-Orthodox structure of learning that are salient and problematic in accreditations. Drawing metaphorically on the works of Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner, encourages a more theoretical, humble, and sensitive exploration of the liminal space that lies beyond structures.


            KEY WORDS: Evaluation Criteria; Higher Education; Judaism; Prior Learning; Religion Studies.


53. Tait, T. (2003). Credit systems for learning and skills: Current developments. LSDA reports. United Kingdom; England: Learning and Skills Council, Coventry (England).


            In January 2003, a national working group was established to review past and current credit developments in England and recommend ways of taking learning credit developments forward in the future. The Learning Skill and Development Agency's case for credit was said to rest on the objectives of recognizing achievement and motivating learners and making the National Qualifications Framework more transparent and flexible. Possible uses of credit by further education, employers, policymakers, national programs, higher education, online learning providers, and the community and voluntary sector were identified. The credit framework developed within further education over the past decade was explained in detail. The following common features of credit systems across the United Kingdom were identified: (1) a multilevel framework with level descriptors from entry level to higher education/professional qualifications; (2) credit based on achievement of units of assessment and learning outcomes; (3) rejection of a "one size fits all" approach; (4) use of notational learning time to establish the credit value of units and qualifications; and (5) recognition that the framework enables but does not by itself establish credit accumulation, credit transfer, and other credit-based systems. The working group called for a common approach to credit operating across the United Kingdom and encompassing post-16 and higher education, including work-based learning.


            KEY WORDS: Articulation (Education); College Credits; Colleges; Cooperative Planning; Education Work Relationship; Educational Certificates; Educational Policy; Educational Practices; Educational Trends; Employment Qualifications; Glossaries; National Surveys; Policy Formation; Postsecondary Education; Recognition (Achievement); Student Certification; Systems Approach; Transfer Policy; Units of Study; Universities.


54. Taylor, J. A. (2000). Adult degree completion programs: A report to the board of trustees from the task force on adult degree completion programs and the award of credit for prior learning at the baccalaureate level. Chicago, IL: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


            In 1998, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools established a fifteen-member Task Force to study the practices and procedures employed in adult degree completion programs. An adult degree completion program is identified as one that is designed especially to meet the needs of the working adult who, having acquired sixty or more college credit hours during previous enrollments, is returning to school after an extended period of absence to obtain a baccalaureate degree. The survey designed by the Task Force was completed by 78 institutions in the country. The survey report identified: (1) lessons learned regarding strengths and weaknesses of the programs; (2) exemplary principles of good practice; (3) the impact of the programs on the broader educational activities of institutional providers and the higher education community in general; and (4) strategies appropriate for an accrediting commission to use in ensuring quality in adult degree completion programs and practices without restricting access. Some of the exemplary practices reported in the study include the following: (1) faculty members are committed to serving adult learners, have appropriate credentials and participate in policy-making and professional development activities; (2) the institution offers adequate administrative support, financial and institutional resources to ensure the effectiveness of the programs; and (3) the institution provides access to a range of student services including admissions, financial aid, academic advising, delivery of course materials, and counseling and placement services.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Programs; Bachelors Degrees; College Credits; Continuing Education; Degrees (Academic); External Degree Programs; Higher Education; Nontraditional Students; Prior Learning; Retraining; Special Degree Programs.


55. Thomas, A., Collins, M., & Plett, L. (2002). Dimensions of the experience of prior learning assessment & recognition. NALL Working Paper No. 52. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            A study extended studies on use of prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) by concentrating on learners/students outside of the college system and exploring student experience with all dimensions of the use of PLAR. Fourteen university students were interviewed. Findings indicated respondents had re-entered formal education by novel means based on an individual assessment of what they knew, and had learned, outside the system of formal education, rather than solely on what they had learned within it; most encountered PLAR by accident; PLAR became the primary basis on which they continued in their educational quest, a welcome add-on that eased and enriched their educational experience, or a minor addition; they used all available PLAR devices, though a larger proportion used portfolios than in earlier research, and all respondents were self-directed students in addition to self-directed learners.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Students; Advanced Placement; College Credits; Developed Nations; Educational Experience; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Independent Study; Informal Education; Nontraditional Education; Nontraditional Students; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); Student Educational Objectives; Student Motivation; Universities.


56. Tillema, H. H. (2003). Integrating developmental assessment with student-directed instruction: A case in vocational education in the Netherlands. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 55(1), 113-125.


            The Educational Development and Assessment System in a Dutch university's vocational education program involves student-directed, self-regulated evaluation methods and integrates assessment with instruction. Evaluation focuses on competencies and portfolio assessments.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Development; Foreign Countries; Learner Controlled Instruction; Portfolio Assessment; Prior Learning; Vocational Education.



57. van Rooy, T. (2002). Recognition of prior learning (RPL): From principle to practice in higher education. South African Journal of Higher Education, 16(2), 75-82.


            Aims to contextualize recognition of prior learning (RPL) as a principle and to show the implications of recent developments in education for implementing RPL in higher education in South Africa.


            KEY WORDS: College Credits; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Program Implementation.


58. Vanstone, S. C. (1999). Publications and resources on prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR). Compiled for the research network for new approaches to lifelong learning. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.


            This bibliography provides a thorough and representative sample of the different types of available Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) publications and resources. These publications and resources are grouped under nine categories: (1) PLAR Policy (Canada, Europe, Africa, Australia, United States of America, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific, Comparative Studies); (2) Implementation of PLAR in Formal Education (General; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Schools; Distance Learning; Second Language, Basic Education, and Literacy Programs; Methods of Assessment; Survey of PLAR Users; Assessor and Facilitator Training; Financing, Promotion, and Marketing); (3) PLAR and Work; (4) PLAR and the Military; (5) PLAR and Questions of Diversity; (6) Theories and Analysis of PLAR; (7) PLAR Literature for Learners; (8) PLAR Bibliographies; and (9) Publications en Francais. The total number of entries is 791; this number includes those instances when the same publication or resource appears under more than one category. Some entries are in French. Each entry consists of some or all of the following components: author(s) or organization; publication date; title; either place of publication and publisher or periodical title and pagination; and an annotation.


            KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adult Basic Education; Adult Education; Bibliographies; Distance Education; Educational Policy; Ethnic Groups; Experiential Learning; Females; Foreign Countries; French; Informal Education; Literacy Education; Marketing; Military Training; Portfolio Assessment; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Program Implementation; Public Relations; Second Language Instruction; Secondary Education; Student Evaluation.


59. Wailey, T., & Simpson, R. (2000). Juggling between learning and work. AP(E)L in the UK. Lifelong Learning in Europe, 5(2), 83-89.


            This framework for learning development in higher education stresses three types of skills - threshold, key, and transferable - and a variety of forms for assessing prior (experiential) learning [AP(E)L]. The function of assessment is both to credit prior learning and diagnose individual learning needs.


            KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Self Evaluation (Individuals); Student Evaluation.




About the CFI Project

1.  General Resources
    for Work & Learning

2. Work

3. Learning

   3.1 Lifelong Learning

   3.2 Formal Education

   3.3 Further Education

   3.4 Informal Education

   3.5 Informal Learning

   3.6 Learning Recognition

4. Work & Learning

5. Other Topics in
Learning & Work


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