Accreditation of Prior Learning

MIHE Accreditation of Prior Learning and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APL/APEL) Policy


APL/APEL Terms and Concepts: Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is based on the fundamental principle that learning, wherever it occurs, can count towards an academic qualification provided that it can be measured and authenticated and is at an appropriate level. Prior learning is any learning that takes place before a student registers for an award of the validating university to be studied at MIHE. Such learning may be certified or experiential.

An applicant’s previous study, work experience and training may, therefore, be counted as credit towards their study programme. However, the student will have to formally apply for this to be considered. The applicant must submit their application for consideration under the APL/APEL policy.

Certified learning (APL) will have taken place in a recognised institution such as a college or university, will have been internally and externally assessed, and may have resulted in a particular qualification. Thus, certified learning results in an award that can be authenticated through the presentation of a certificate.

Experiential learning (APEL) comes from less structured contexts. For example, company training schemes may have taught courses but these may not have been assessed and certified. Learning may be experiential, not derived from a formal course, but a result of acquiring skills and concepts from work or other activities. Experiential learning can take a variety of forms and results in learning that has not been formally recognised through an award process.

A student may make a request that prior learning – whether certified or experiential – may be allowed to count as part of that required for an award.

Measurement consists of two dimensions – the volume of relevant learning and the level at which the learning takes place.

Two systems of measuring level are used by academic institutions (specific and general). Specific, or module credit, is credit awarded for achieving learning outcomes that are relevant to a particular module. General credit is credit awarded for achieving learning outcomes that are not directly relevant to the named area of study, but relevant to the overall award. When a student applies for their prior learning to be taken into account, the institution has to decide how much of their general credit is relevant and can be used against the proposed course. A student might be granted a mix of general and specific credit, including credit for different levels of study.

If it is clear that an applicant has fulfilled some of the progression and assessment requirements of the course by means other than attendance on the entire course and will be able by completing the remaining requirements to fulfil the objectives of the course and attain the standard required for the award, MIHE may consider the applicant for admission “with advanced standing” to an appropriate point in the programme. Such decisions are taken by academic staff and are based on consideration of the evidence presented by the student and how it relates to the content of the chosen course and availability of places and funding. The admission of students with advanced standing following the accreditation of their prior learning or work experience (APL / APEL) shall apply to individual admissions only.

Programme transfers: Subject to meeting any programme-specific requirements, students may be allowed to transfer from a point on one programme of study within or outside MIHE to the same point on another within MIHE providing MIHE is satisfied that the two programmes are equivalent in terms of their curriculum and learning outcomes. Such transfers are not required to be accredited under MIHE’s APL/APEL policy. Programme transfers are subject to conditions which may include funding and place availability on the respective course.

APL at the Institute operates to ensure that students do not duplicate previous learning during their time at MIHE, whilst maintaining the need for students to demonstrate successful attainment of the learning outcomes appropriate to their award. The Institute encourages students to seek accreditation of their prior learning (APL). Credit exemption can be given against modules taught at MIHE where the learning outcomes have previously been met either through study or work experience. Recognition of prior learning, if approved through the due process, is recorded on the student record.

MIHE’s Accreditation of Prior Learning Committee is responsible for assessing applications on a fair and equitable basis. Candidates will receive guidance on the preparation of their APL/APEL applications from a member of staff. The Institute will not apply grades to modules credited under the APL policy. No student claiming APEL/APEL will be enrolled with advanced standing until the APL Committee has completed its process and communicated its formal decision to the applicant.

Contact the admin office for further information or for an APL/APEL application form.