Flexible paths to assessment for OER learners: A Comparative Study
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The opportunities for innovation in the developing OER world are endless. Recognizing learners’ prior experiential learning (RPL), already an innovative practice in many tertiary or post-secondary educational institutions, presents both opportunity and challenge to OER practitioners. Existing RPL practices are often deeply embedded within individual institutional policy and practice. In some cases, such practices are labor-intensive and not particularly cost-effective or scalable. The definition of RPL practices and the relationship of various types of assessments to each other are also often unique to institutions. This presentation will highlight the findings of a research project that investigated the fit of RPL practice and related assessment and transfer protocols to projected OER use. Targeting practice in 24 countries around the world, researchers sought to determine the nature and scope of a variety of institutional RPL approaches. The project’s aim was to identify scalable solutions for post-secondary institutions to help non-traditional students gain academic credit. An understanding of how different institutions are approaching the recognition of non-formal and informal learning will provide change agents within universities with new knowledge on how to extend and expand their learning missions by creating flexible pathways to facilitate the credentialisation of students who may be deemed non-traditional given their demographic, learning mobility, and dependence on Open Educational Resources or digital learning. This research addresses conference themes of both innovation and impact as regards researching the potential for open assessment practices as well as examining how these potential OER practices will impact learners. Highly original, it will present a body of new data and analyse it for its relevance and application to developing OER processes. It is significant is that its data will contribute knowledge that can enhance the development of public and/or institutional policy in the areas of assessment, credit transfer, and the articulation of credentials. As all outputs of the project will be published under a Creative Commons license, maximum use and accessibility of data will occur.