A collaborative initiative: recognising prior learning with the Connacht-Ulster Alliance e-Portfolio application tool

Clinch, Gavin, Ginty, Carina and Doherty, Oran (2014) A collaborative initiative: recognising prior learning with the Connacht-Ulster Alliance e-Portfolio application tool. In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the generic term for learning assessment mechanisms such as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Advanced Academic Standing, which are used within Higher Education Institutions to describe the awarding of credit/exemptions to applicants on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred prior to admission. The OECD (2008, p.50) reported that 'demand for RPL is latent in Ireland and once employers and workers are well informed about RPL, interest is generally high'. Furthermore, Hunt (2011, p.55) stated that 'RPL is particularly important as flexible and workplace learning opportunities expand. A national framework for RPL must be developed, based on the expertise and experience already built up in the higher education institutions. Progress in this regard will help to shift the emphasis from educational inputs towards learning outcomes. This student-centred philosophy lies at the heart of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).' The Connacht Ulster Alliance (GMIT, IT Sligo and LYIT) initiated a project to inform, support and facilitate Irish or international applicants in applying for RPL to gain entry onto a programme or seek exemptions from parts of a programme. A dedicated web portal (www.myexperience.ie) was created to provide relevant information on RPL through short videos and text. The website defines the different mechanism of RPL assessment, provides details on the process and links to the CUA e-Portfolio tool. The actual e-Portfolio tool was created in Moodle 2.6 as this provides for assessment of learning. As a paperless tool, it provides an electronic submission of evidence and allows the learner to submit their portfolio in a sequence of stages resulting in the creation of a professional RPL portfolio. The e-Portfolio of evidence includes: certified learning; experiential learning; references; work experience outputs and motivational statements. The CUA e-Portfolio will be piloted from May to August 2014 in GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo. This tool offers a national solution for RPL applicants and has the potential to provide for digital badges.

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