What’s stopping you from going back to school to get a degree? Lack of time? The high cost of college tuition? It’s true that time is money, so accelerating your degree by earning college credit for what you already know is an idea that makes sense for many people.
I recently audited Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit, Kaplan University’s first offering in the field of free online classes known as MOOCs, and I learned it’s possible for students to earn college credit for what they may have already learned on the job, in volunteer positions, through hobbies, in the military, or even while traveling.
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According to the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), students with prior learning assessment credits saved an average of two and a half to ten months of time. in completing bachelor’s degrees, and up to four and a half months in associate degree programs.The savings gained through prior learning assessment can translate into a reduction in the total price of a degree program, to the point where a private college program could become as affordable as one from a public college.
This Learning Recognition Course, or LRC, points out that the key to developing a successful learning portfolio is for students to show that their prior learning meets the outcomes of published college courses. In the case of the LRC, students will learn how to petition for credit in Kaplan-specific courses to determine how many college credits they could receive toward a degree from Kaplan University.
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Distinguishing between experience and learning is an important part of the Kaplan course. It could be a stumbling block to students left on their own, but LRC students are walked through the process with easy-to-follow, step-by-step, self-paced tutorials. The Learning Recognition Course begins by guiding students through recording and reflecting on many of their past experiences and proceeds into developing expanded resumes, researching college course outcomes, developing course petitions and providing proper documentation.
Most importantly, Kaplan University assigns each student an expert assessment specialist who can be contacted at various points throughout the course to review a student’s work and offer recommendations.
Kaplan also makes it as simple as possible for LRC students to receive full credit for prior learning through the introduction of useful tools to record and save one’s progress. Additionally, students are provided with a Course Explorer database for accessing thousands of college courses to help match experiential learning to specific outcomes.
Upon completion of the Learning Recognition Course, students will have fully developed and edited Prior Learning Portfolios which they may choose, for a fee, to submit to Kaplan University to be assessed for credit toward a Kaplan degree. Students who decide to enroll at Kaplan University will then have the opportunity to accelerate their degrees and save some money in the process.
According to Janet Colvin of the CAEL, “until more students take advantage of prior learning assessment methods, millions of potential credit hours may remain unclaimed.” This is an untapped opportunity for thousands of students to gain college credit for what they’ve already learned and accomplished.
Have you petitioned a college for prior learning credit? Let us know your advice by commenting below.