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Where does AP(E)L fit in Higher Education?

Author - Anne Murphy

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VaLEx: Valuing Learning from Experience

The 2003–2005 VaLEx Research Project (Valuing Learning from Experience) is a Socrates-Grundtvig project. It is tasked with taking forward the work of an earlier EU project, AP(E)L from the Learners Perspective 2001–2003, which was led by Glasgow-Caledonian University/University of Stirling TRANSFINE research project described above. The partner universities in VaLEx are: Stirling, Warwick, South Brittany, Brussels, Tartu (Estonia), Turku (Finland) and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

The main aim of the VaLEx project is to develop and test a model of AP(E)L in higher education, based on a biographical and guidance model which provides expert ‘accompaniament’ to adult learners as they progress through a personally identified higher-education learning plan towards a qualification. The model takes particular cognisance of the French VAE model (Validation des Acquis de l’Experience), where the notion of future capability as well as current competence is central.

The model of AP(E)L is tested in each of the partner countries in collaboration with locally identified agencies/organisations, since a key principle in the model is that experiential learning in occupational spheres is gained in the specific contexts of practice, and indeed that valuing of learning should not be solely within the hegemony of the higher education sector in any case. The VaLEx project specifically aims to provide a robust defence of the theoretical underpinnings of the model in higher education, so that it might positively inform the policy context as well as the practice context.

The first activity of the project was to produce comparative reports on the status of AP(E)L in the partner countries. For the most part, these report drew their data from previous Socrates projects, from publications in each country and from the TRANSFINE data.


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