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Best Practices: Credit for Prior Learning

December 30, 1899


Developing Best Practices in Outreach: Credit for Prior Learning

On many campuses, it is difficult for most learners to find out about credit for prior learning policies and practices for a number of reasons:

  • Credit for prior learning goes by different names: prior learning assessment, experiential learning, alternative credit.
  • It has different meanings and options: credit by exam, evaluation of workplace training, individualized assessments, portfolio, just to name a few.
  • It is housed in different areas: transfer/advising departments, adult learner/prior learning assessment programs, and veterans’ programs are some examples. 
Tools for getting started on developing effective outreach

1. Gauge your current practices and ways in which you could improve them. Here are a few beginning questions:

  1. At your institution, how is credit for prior learning (CPL) labeled?  
  2. At your institution, what are the CPL options?
  3. Where are these options housed and administered? 
  4. How and where do students learn about their options?
  5. How are administrators, staff, and faculty informed and trained about CPL policies and practices?
  6. What roles do or could they play in informing students about CPL?
2. Develop a CPL Checklist to use with students as they enter programs.  Find out if the student has any of the following: 
  1. Military training and experience Formal workplace training Industry-recognized certifications
  2. Successful completion of national exams, such as CLEP, Excelsior, and DSST
  3. Competencies gained through workplace, community, and other experiences that may be equivalent to college-level learning
3. Identify and develop strategies for effective outreach.  For example:
  1. Provide clear, accessible policies, practices, and procedures. 
  2. Maintain regular information-sharing and training sessions across campus constituencies, including staff, faculty, and administrators.
  3. Develop multiple communication methods with learners through websites, social networking, orientation and advising sessions, and outreach events to potential students.
4. View examples of websites that aim to make credit for prior learning options learner-accessible:

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