Prior Learning Assessment
- What Our Students Say
“At first I was skeptical at what I could get out of a primarily online class that results in such a large project. I can see the benefit of the discussions and maybe its more the students in the class but there is a click to everything we talk about. We can go out on a tangent and yet reel ourselves back in with the topic. I have talked about everything and there seems to be no boundaries in what you can talk about. With the diversity in age and background the discussions can go on for days and they are useful. The portfolio is not as intimidating now as it seemed at first. I am happy I am in the class and can definitely see a need for a break from the traditional classroom environment. This is a whole new learning style for me and it works.”
– Master Sergeant Anthony O’Neal
Experiential and lifelong learning is learning that has occurred outside of a traditional classroom. Students may obtain college credit at UIS by presenting their experiential learning for assessment in a portfolio that includes the following information:
- writing a learning distinction exercise
- taking a learning style inventory
- participating in a class discussion board
- writing a chronological record of learning experiences
- writing an autobiography
- writing a narrative essay
- writing an educational goals statement
- providing documentation
The UIS Prior Learning Assessment program guides students through the development of this experiential learning portfolio. Students create their first model portfolio in EXL 305 Prior Learning Portfolio Development, a course that awards 3-4 credit hours for successful completion.
Prior Learning also facilitates the assessment process of additional experiential learning portfolios in some majors. Students may create additional portfolios for up to 12 additional credit hours, for a total of up to 16 credit hours of experiential learning, depending on the academic program.
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has been in the forefront in developing ways to assess learning not easily evaluated by traditional techniques. The portfolio model is one approach to assessment. UIS faculty are members of CAEL and adhere to CAEL best practices in prior learning. Credit for coursework completed through non-traditional avenues is a widespread practice at more than 3,500 accredited institutions.