A Tale of Two Continents: Cross cultural perspectives in using experiential learning as a foundation for negotiated programs SUNY Empire State College • Founded 1971 to meet the needs of the Adult Learner • > 20,000 students - Associate, Bachelor’s, & Master’s degrees 35 Face to Face locations in New York State, plus Center for Distance Learning ≥ 40% of enrollment (Students in all 50 states and across 50 countries) www.esc.edu Undergraduate Program - Open Curriculum – Individualized degree design to connect studies with students’ personal learning goals across 13 Areas of Study – Credit for college-level experiential learning: – Standardized exams: CLEP, DANTES, TECEP, NYU, Excelsior – Military, Training Program or Course evaluations: ACE, NCCRS – ESC Generic/Partnerships – Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) – PLA: Students prepare a reflective, narrative selfassessment and is interviewed by a content expert (faculty or equivalent) Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) “Prior Learning Assessment is a term used to describe learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. Put another way, it’s learning and knowledge your students acquire while living their lives: working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open source courseware” (CAEL). Life Experiences Prior Learning Assessment Professional Training Personal Learning “In short, PLA is the evaluation and assessment of an individual’s life learning for college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training” (CAEL). 4 Why Prior Learning Assessment? Traditional Transfer Credit NonTraditional Transfer & Testing (ACE Credit, CLEP, etc). Prior Learning Portfolio Assessment • Prior learning assessment has been a practice for over 40 years at Empire State College. • PLA offers all learners, especially adult learners the ability to: – Earn credit for learning outside of the classroom. – Complete their degrees sooner at a lower cost. • SUNY Empire State College follows the Council on Adult Learning Education’s and the Middle States Accreditation guidelines for the individualized assessment of learning. Evaluation Criteria: Application of Credits: Course Match vs. Non-Course Match Restrictive vs. NonRestrictive Evaluators: Variations in PLA Practices Faculty vs. Outside Experts Policies & Support Integrated vs. Add On Assessment Process: Blind Review vs. Interviews How PLA works at Empire State College • Students meet with a faculty mentor • Students take 1 required course – Educational Planning • Students design their own degree program plan using prior learning as a basis • Students develop PLA requests as part of their degree plan • The PLA recommendation is part of the final degree program plan portfolio • The PLA credits are approved as part of the degree program approval process. Assessment of Prior Learning at Empire State College 1. A course and some attend a workshop 2. Learning essay Students are interviewed in PLA Process 3. Supporting documentation 4. Portfolio Shifts in Our Lifetimes Industrial Age 18th Century – late 1970’s Informational Age Late 1097’s - 2000 Relational Age 2000 - present • Technology – increase productivity & replace human tasks • Communication – constrained by time & place • Knowledge Acquisition – well defined, delivered • Technology – capture, process & share information • Communication – wired & networked • Knowledge Acquisition – begins to extend globally • Technology – amplifies connections & relationships • Communication – unplugged, anytime/anywhere • Knowledge Acquisition – self-organized Today’s Learning Environments Higher Education • Classrooms • Online Courses • ePortfolios Internet • • • • Websites, Blogs, Wikipedia Mobile Aps Social Media Web Videos – YouTube, iTunes Open Education • Open CourseWare Consortium • Open University Network • Kahn Academy • Peer-to-Peer University • Badges Shifts in Higher Education Past Role Current Role Connect Learning to big picture; context, historical and future implications. Deliver Courses and Information Help students to be well-rounded, liberal arts educated persons Provide specific skills for specific fields Confer Degrees Connect Liberal Arts Education, Global Learning, and Workplace Learning and blend skills for evolving employment Help students to Learn to Learn Help students to Present their Learning Assessment of Learning Become partners in learning Provide Stackable Credentials SRL Research Brain Research Student’s Role •Self-Assess their Learning •Reflect Upon their Learning •Articulate their Learning PLA Research Assessing Learning Institutional Role: • Confirm College-Level Learning • Credential the Learning Questions? • • • • Will an institution assess students emergent learning acquired while attending the institution or only time bound learning prior to attendance? Will PLA policies provide for students to add on assessed learning as they move through their degree? Will institutions be willing to expand their PLA policies to allow more assessed learning credits be recognition toward degree requirements? How will the additional learning be recognized when it expands beyond degree requirements? When learning doesn’t fit a degree, will institutions expand their offerings, such certificates, to capture students’ learning? Will institutions accept badges for credit? Can the peer-review system be developed within academic settings for prior learning? Will institutions be able to embrace the variety of verifiable college level learning posed by students? Is the essay the only way that students can demonstrate verifiable college-level learning? Originally, there was belief that the writing process required college-level skills and was important in documenting academic equivalent learning. Is this true? Could greater depth and breadth of learning be documented by using relational tools? What would happen if these tools were combined? Are there other practices that demonstrate learning that could be used in the documenting process? Your Questions?