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