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Examination as the method in the recognition of prior language learning

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Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a principle in education to acknowledge and validate learning acquired during and throughout an individual’s lifetime. Formal, non-formal and informal learning can be assessed, recognised and accredited for various purposes in an individual’s education or professional life. The methods of assessing prior learning vary across educational levels but examinations and portfolios are the most common methods in European higher education. This study investigated how Finnish university students perceived and RPL examination as the method of recognising their non-formal and informal learning of English for academic purposes. During a three-year period data were collected with a questionnaire and interview from RPL participants studying Business and Economics, and with an electronic survey with non-participant students from the same degree programme. The findings indicate that Finnish university students in both groups preferred the examination as the RPL method for non-formal and informal learning of academic English, and some RPL participants were critical of the option of a portfolio for the assessment of prior language learning. This can be seen to emphasise the use of similar assessment methods in both the RPL assessment and the equivalent formal learning instruction.
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Keywords: English for academic purposes; RPL; higher education; non-formal and informal learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Language Centre, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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