How Can Universities Include Validation of Prior Learning? A Proposal Beyond UNESCO

Alejandra Martinez Barrientos


Validation of Prior Learning (VPL) is not new for most countries. Many of them have introduced this kind of prior-competence certification, including informal and non-formal learning. Some institutions have linked certification to complementary training processes to assure not only employability, but also the possibility to start or continue educational processes which can allow anyone to improve life conditions. It has specially been applied to excluded populations from formal education, who have not had access to regular academic certifications. This phenomenon is also present in postgraduate studies because many people do not have the opportunity to continue their academic development after getting the license certificate, but they do have experiences in informal and non-formal learning.

This proposal sets three steps to develop VPL processes into university postgraduate programs: 1) Institutional preparation and organization, 2) Defining managing steps, and 3) Implementation of the four stages defined by UNESCO. All of these set out from conceptualizing VPL processes as a change of learning conception, recognizing that formal learning is not the only valid way to develop competencies, and positioning universities in a more active role in lifelong learning.

Here are presented some examples of how universities can implement these steps.

Keywords: Validation of Prior Learning; Lifelong Learning, University

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