Accrediting work-based learning: Exclusion?

When we discuss work-based learning we often talk about how we are widening participation; making HE more inclusive and accessible. Recently a few employer engagement arrangements that I have been involved in have brought to mind the way in which accreditation of training can divide a work-force in to the post- and pre- accreditation groups. When training is accredited what can do we do about the people who have completed the training and learning and in some cases the assessment but have not acquired credits? Accreditation of Prior Learning may provide an answer however this is sometimes easier said than done within the bounds of regulations. I am fast coming to the conclusion that it is critical at the point of design for developers to consider the pre-accredited learners and how they may have the opportunity to be included without disproportionate procedures coming into practice. As well as APL, APCL and APEL we might consider advanced standing and also the use of wrapper modules* to recognize and extend learning. Adding a notional APL access line to module specs and course development paperwork simply stores up problems for the point when access is required.

Presently I am involved in designing an employer engagement wherein a sizable number of learners will have undertaken the training but not the assessment (or any additional elements resulting from the accreditation). At this design stage we have a blank canvas on how to include the wider group in to the accredited provision: It maybe through a supported APL style process or through a wrapper module which recognises learning undertaken and extends this through reflection and inquiry, whatever the means it does not seem reasonable or ethical to knowingly exclude through inaction.

*Wrappers would be particularly appropriate for courses that have evolved through accreditation.

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