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

Author - Anne Murphy

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Limitations of the survey data

In presenting and interpreting the survey data below, it is necessary to indicate some limitations. First, some responses were the collective response from the colleges about their experience of AP(E)L rather than a separate response for each case of AP(E)L practice. In one instance the responses represented experiences over eight college courses, while in another responses represented experiences over four areas of study. Second, the questionnaire itself may not have given sufficient scope for respondents to elaborate the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of their AP(E)L practices. Third, colleges which have discontinued, or have never used, AP(E)L may need to be offered a further opportunity to elaborate the conceptual, policy and procedural problems they identified. Fourth, Recognition of Accredited Prior Learning (RAPL) is widely used across Irish higher education for access, for transfer and, perhaps less frequently, for exemptions from modules/units of study or entry at advanced standing. (This applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.) Some colleges regard this as evidence of acceptance of prior experiential learning for entry and credit exchange. Finally, HETAC pro-actively encourages recognition of experiential learning, and AP(E)L systems have been available for both the further and higher non-university sectors for over a decade. The DIT and the universities have autonomy in this regard, and practice has tended to be at course, school, or departmental levels, rather than through a centralised system.

The survey data are presented under broadly similar headings to those used in the TRANSFINE UK country reports, with additional headings as required. A text summary only is offered in this paper. The numeric data can be viewed at on the VaLEx website: http://ww.valex-apel.com

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