ACE Prior Learning Network Pilot

About the Project

​​​​​​​​​​Completing a college degree remains critical to economic mobility and career opportunities. Sixty-five percent of jobs require a postsecondary education, yet there are still 36 million working adults who never completed a degree, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Credit for prior​​​ learning (CPL) from workplace​ training or professional certifications saves learners time and money in attaining their degrees and connects learners to flexible college pathways. While many colleges accept CPL, reliable and accessible information about it isn’t widely available to learners and the existing process is difficult to navigate. Some of the main challenges learners have described include a lack of transparency in the process and a lack of guaranteed credit acceptance for CPL.

ACE is addressing this challenge by creating an innovative network—powered by Credly, a business of Pearsonto connect learners to colleges that accept CPL and provide greater transparency about learners’ possible college pathways. This program, like ACE Apprenticeship Pathways, builds on learning from a pilot project and ACE’s years of experience with CPL networks. The network will provide a trusted source to connect learners to transparent information about the CPL that colleges accept. The program will also help colleges evaluate prior learning more easily by provide information, tools, and resources to support the course review and articulation process.

ACE received a two-year grant with generous support from the ECMC Foundation to implement a pilot project to conduct research and build a foundation for this network. ACE selected a group of founding higher education institutions and identified a set of initial articulations, paving the way for future degree pathways for ACE-endorsed learning experiences. In collaboration with key stakeholders and partners, ACE also conducted a learner survey and created the technical scope for an online platform for the network and began to develop training resources to help colleges effectively engage with the network. 

Valuable insights gained during the pilot indicate strong demand for the network, such as:

  • Sixty-one percent of respondents to an ACE learner survey said they would be interested in enrolling in a college or university if they knew they would be guaranteed ACE credit transfer.
  • Learners want to know which credits count toward specific degree programs and which colleges will accept credits.
  • Transfer credit acceptance is just as important a factor as tuition cost when choosing college programs, according to respondents to an ACE learner survey.
  • Twenty percent of learners—much higher than the industry average for the education sector—click to learn more when they see a pop-up about their CPL options on Credly.
Pilot Institutions

Pilot members of this network are higher education institutions at the forefront of CPL that are dedicated to serving adult learners and committed to educational quality and positive learner outcomes. They recognize that there is an opportunity to broaden and de​epen access to CPL across higher education so that more learners have access to meaningful degrees and employment opportunities. These members are working with ACE and Credly to inform, inspire, and scale the network. Pilot members are:

Building on the Pilot

ACE will evaluate the learnings and results from the pilot to create a sustainable model for scaling the ACE Prior Learning Network. Our goal is for the network to address the current challenges for the th​ree stakeholders of learning evaluations: adult learners, employers and training providers, and higher education institutions. Learners will gain an unprecedented level of clarity and personalized access to possible degree pathways, institutions will be able to access interested learners and data, and employers and training providers will enjoy an enhanced value to their training programs.

Learners: Learners who have completed courses or exams reviewed by ACE Learning Evaluations (formerly CREDIT®) will be able to:

  • Access information about institutions that will accept and guarantee CPL
  • Find out how many credits colleges will accept and learn about possible degree pathways for accepted prior learning experiences
  • Invite colleges to contact them about enrollment opportunities

Higher Education Institutions:
 Joining this network presents many unique opportunities for colleges and universities interested in taking a leadership role in helping adult learners achieve their educational goals. Colleges will have the opportunity to:
  • Reach and recruit thousands of dedicated, hardworking, and motivated adult learners
  • Join a network of innovative higher education institutions with a shared vision of taking action to support educational and employment opportunities for adult learners​

Employers and Training Providers: This network will be yet another way that ACE is enhancing the value of our training providers’ courses and credentials by connecting them to higher education opportunities. Employers and training providers that receive ACE credit recommendations and participate in the credentialing program will have the opportunity to:​

  • Enhance the value of their trainings by connecting learners to colleges that will guarantee credits for their credentials
  • Save on tuition assistance
  • Simplify the course articulation process with colleges
  • Connect more of their learners to college pathways and help equip them for the future

About Learning Evaluations

ACE Learning Evaluations seeks to improve the economic mobility of independent learners by connecting traditional and nontraditional educational experiences to meaningful degree and employment opportunities. ACE has been dedicated to lifelong learning for more than 100 years through the contribution of research, alternative education resources, validated learning and evaluations, quality assurance, and thought leadership in the area of credit for prior learning.


​Contact Us

Have questions about the ECMC Foundation grant? Please contact ACE Learning Evaluations at