Recognising prior learning: a window onto what is wrong with higher education

Article


Blackman, T. 2017. Recognising prior learning: a window onto what is wrong with higher education. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 19 (3), pp. 6-17. https://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.19.3.6
TypeArticle
TitleRecognising prior learning: a window onto what is wrong with higher education
AuthorsBlackman, T.
Abstract

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) has challenged disciplinary knowledge as the foundation of higher education, in the process widening participation, but still often within linear and standardised credit frameworks. These frameworks, however, have been challenged by models of competency-based learning and assessment in which students demonstrate what they know by showing rather than telling, and progressing at their own pace. Drawing on the work of John Macmurray and Richard Sennett, this article argues that these innovations are actually more true to the nature of knowledge than 'learning stuff' , because they are about knowing why we do something, which is also intrinsic to the critical reflection often assessed by RPL. If we know through doing, then this also raises the social aspect of 'doing', which is a rich and growing line of inquiry in educational research. The most effective 'doing' – for example as complex problem solving – combines ability with diversity; diverse teams are good problem solvers. This suggests that liberal education ideas of an intellectually challenging education only for the brightest and best are not only socially divisive but are economically damaging and, overall, less likely to develop the abilities that graduates need as the future's knowledge workers and entrepreneurs.

Research GroupSocial Policy Research Centre (SPRC)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherOpen University
JournalWidening Participation and Lifelong Learning
ISSN1466-6529
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Oct 2018
Accepted01 Mar 2017
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.19.3.6
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