E-Apel: Electronic Accreditation of Prior Learning
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E-Apel: Electronic Accreditation of Prior Learning To what extent can the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL) process be facilitated through the use of technology?. LTW - APEL process.

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Ltw apel process

E-Apel: Electronic Accreditation of Prior Learning To what extent can the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL) process be facilitated through the use of technology?

Ltw apel process
LTW - APEL process

  • There is an existing base of Information and Guidance for Learners (including concepts, principles, how to claim, regulations and procedures for LTW).

  • This university, in common with most, is stronger on documentation for regulations and procedures than in its support for concepts, principles and how to claim.

  • For more information: www.learningthroughwork.co.uk

Rationale for e apel
Rationale for E-APEL

  • The University of Derby, in common with many other universities in the UK, is seeing rapid growth in demand for its Learning Through Work (LTW) programmes.

  • 85 to 90 percent of individual learners applying for LTW also want recognition and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

  • This growth in demand comes not only from individuals who wish to combine work and study but also from employers who are coming to see it as a highly beneficial form of staff development.

Rationale for e apel1
Rationale for E-APEL

  • The University’s process for APEL, which closely follows the Guidelines on the accreditation of prior learning from the Quality Assurance Agency[1], is a largely manual one at present.

    Two factors are placing a strain on this process:

  • The current system for APEL cannot easily be scaled up to meet the increase in demand.

  • Much of the work required by APEL needs to be undertaken before the potential student makes a commitment to study and pays any fees.

    [1]Guidelines on the accreditation of prior learning. . . . . . The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, September 2004.

Challenges diversity of learners
Challenges: diversity of learners

  • From those who really do know what they want / need – have clear learning ambitions…to those who don’t

  • From those who have the jargon…to those who don’t

  • From those making large volume generic claims…to small or specific / “match” claims

  • From those who understand and can do reflection…to those who find this new or difficult

Challenges process consistency
Challenges: Process Consistency

Key common requirements of existing APEL claims processes


  • Developing a matrix of areas of learning against Level Indicators

  • Writing or presenting some kind of reflective commentary to articulate the learning

  • Portfolio or other evidence sources to support the claim (currently often mainly hard copy or face to face)

Challenges from tacit knowledge of advisors to explicit knowledge
Challenges: from tacit knowledge of advisors to explicit knowledge

“There is relatively little explicit, transferable knowledge on qualifying and quantifying experiential learning. As a result a lot of institutes tend to steer clear of the more complex cases, which is not desirable. Where they don't, assessment is usually based on a very high degree of personal experience of the advisers involved. An important implicit goal of this project is to make APEL more manageable. Not just by automating the process, but by actually defining the process more explicitly in the first place.”

Meijer, R 2007

The e apel project
The E-APEL Project knowledge

E-APEL is an 18 month project, funded by JISC as

part of their eLearning Programme. The project will run to

September 2008 with partners;

  • University of Derby (Project Lead)

  • Manchester Solutions

  • University of Wolverhampton

  • Small Firms Enterprise Development Project Aims Initiative (SFEDI).

Project aims
Project Aims knowledge

The e-APEL project will use e-learning technologies to

automate aspects of the process and enhance the service

offered to LTW students.

Specifically it will:

  • use e-assessment technology to allow potential students to self assess their prior experiential learning and receive an indication of the credit they might be able to claim;

  • gather additional information from potential students to enable a well informed discussion to take place with an APEL academic advisor;

  • guide and support LTW applicants in the compiling of their APEL claim using e-portfolio services.

Ltw apel process

Estimator knowledge


Claim service


Build profile

Define prior learning

Create proposal

Create Estimate

Review estimate


Refine proposal

Build claim

Evidence claim



Project outputs
Project Outputs knowledge

  • “The Estimator” APEL credit estimation service

  • “The Advisor” Review / Feedback Stage

    Estimator and Advisor Tools can be used at pre entry stages

The estimator
“The Estimator” knowledge

By allowing potential students to self assess their prior

experiential learning, the cost of advising individuals on the

likely outcome of an APEL claim are largely alleviated. They

will also gain knowledge and understanding of how APEL


The advisor
“The Advisor” knowledge

  • enables academic guidance on potential claim – areas, level, and possible credit volume

  • learner data is clearly displayed in matrix format, satisfying a key APEL process requirement

The claim service
“The Claim Service” knowledge

  • The Claim Service tool is currently in development with e-portfolio company Pebblepad

  • The service will support the tutor-learner interpersonal process

  • It offers data inputs to an e-portfolio tool

Project benefits
Project Benefits knowledge

  • The overall impact of e-APEL will be to make APEL a clearer and easier to apply process which in turn is likely to increase the numbers entering HE via this route - part of widening participation

  • Allow mature learners access to learning

  • Useful tool for work based learners

  • Employers will gain a better understanding of Learning Through Work and how it can benefit them and their employees

Project dissemination
Project Dissemination knowledge

E-APEL has already generated significant enthusiasm from a wide

range of actors in the education system, including :

  • UK HEIs

  • European HEIs


  • The FE sector

  • The RAF