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Frameworks to support lifewide learning

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 15 years, 1 month ago

A life-wide curriculum to promote the enterprise of learning in the many different environments that life has to offer begs the question how can we recognize and give credit for such learning. The UK higher education system is so grounded in the idea that academic credit and the honours degree are the only forms of recognition worth having that it is culturally very difficult to break away from this tradition. But a number of institutions have pioneered the development and implementation of frameworks for awarding credit, certificates or significant awards for life-wide learning and we can learn from such experiences. Noteworthy examples include the York Award and more recently the Exeter Award.


An Awards Framework that recognises and values learning from life-wide experiences has the potential to encourage students and staff to develop broader conceptions of learning that recognise that valuable learning is gained from a wide range of formal and informal experiences. It effectively introduces learners to the tacit, observation experience rich nature of learning in professional work environments. By valuing learning gained from experience it can encourage learners to reflect on their experiences and develop the metacognitive capacities that are so important to becoming an agentic professional. It helps address the difficult issue of self-motivation: learning in higher education is dominated by extrinsic motivation whereas learners willing participate in life-wide experiences for their own intrinsic value. It might also help address the difficult issue of students’ creative development: there are many more opportunities for self-motivated creativity outside formal education than there are within.


Some questions 

In a conference that promotes the life-wide conception of learning we need to engage with the problems of:

  • How do we go about developing frameworks for recognizing learning gained in learning environments that academics and institutions can’t control?
  • How do we get institutional, staff, students and employers to recognize the value of awards for these forms of experiential learning?
  • What are the most cost effective ways of evaluating and recognizing such learning?
  • Which processes for evaluating learning can be scaled up to accommodate large numbers of learners?














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