Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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; 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.

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. 3. 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; Postsecondary Education; Prior Learning; Private Sector; Psychiatric Hospitals; Public Sector; Recruitment; Secondary Education; State Agencies; Universities.

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

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; Student Attitudes; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Teacher Researchers; Best Practices; England; Nonaccredited Colleges.

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; Prior Learning; Recognition (Achievement); Reliability; Secondary Education; Social Integration; Social Mobility; Standard Setting; Student Certification; Student Evaluation;

Hargreaves, J. (2006). Recognition of prior learning: At a glance. Adelaide, SA: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

This study presents an overview of recent research on recognition of prior learning within the Australian vocational education and training system. The growing body of research on the subject has indicated that recognition of prior learning has many benefits to individuals, employers and registered training organisations including a significant impact on learner confidence and motivation. The study found that there has been a commitment to ensuring that recognition of prior learning is accessed and utilized effectively in the Australian vocational education and training system and that recognition of prior learning.
KEY WORDS: Training System; Research; Employer; Learning Motivation; Australia.

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.

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; Certification; Classification; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Literature Reviews; Models; National Standards; National Surveys; Nonformal Education; Occupational Mobility; Prior Learning; Transfer Policy; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education; Work Experience.

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.

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: Adult Education; Annotated Bibliographies; Educational Certificates; Educational Quality; Educational Research; Equal Education; Experiential Learning; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Market; Out of School Youth; Prior Learning; Staff Development; Student Certification; Vocational Education; Barriers to Participation; United Kingdom.

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; Prior Learning; Promotion; Protocol Analysis; Public Policy; School Business Relationship; Skill Analysis; Student Certification; Student Evaluation; Transfer of Training; Vocational Education; Vocational Evaluation; Work Experience.
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.

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.

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.
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