Assessing prior experiential learning: issues of authority, authorship and identity

Pokorny, Helen (2012) Assessing prior experiential learning: issues of authority, authorship and identity. Journal of Workplace Learning, 24 (2). pp. 119-132. ISSN 1366-5626

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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine how students with workplace learning experience the process of the assessment of prior experiential learning (APEL) in higher education. Design/methodology/approach – This is an inductive and exploratory study drawing on methodology from the field of academic literacies. It addresses two questions: “How do different tutors and students approach the APEL process?” and “How do students with workplace learning experience the APEL process?”. Interviews were undertaken with students and tutors around the students' assessment documents. The data werre analysed according to Lillis' and Ivanic's concept of “addressivity”. This type of analysis indicates how students and tutors are positioning one another, and facilitates the drawing out of similarities and differences in these positionings between the different participants. Findings – The paper finds that, although all students had been successful in their APEL claims, their narratives were quite polarised. Using a heuristic developed by Lillis the data clearly demonstrate the impact on the student experience of two different tutor approaches, that of monologic teaching and dialogic mediation. Research limitations/implications – This is a small scale, single institution study. Replicating the study in different contexts may further explain the differences between APEL processes that learners find empowering and those which they do not. Originality/value – The original perspective afforded by the theoretical lens of academic literacies suggests a valuable re-conceptualisation of the traditional assessor-candidate relationship with implications for assessment practice. The paper also provides a student perspective on the process that is largely absent in the research literature.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special ‘Edition Learning through Experience: Developing Synergies between Research and Practice in Workplace Learning, Work-based Learning and the Recognition of Prior Learning
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Exchange
Depositing User: Rachel Wheelhouse
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2012 15:49
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 11:40

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