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

Blackman, Tim (2017) Recognising prior learning: a window onto what is wrong with higher education. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19 (3) . pp. 6-17. ISSN 1466-6529 [Article] (doi:10.5456/WPLL.19.3.6)


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.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
Item ID: 25484
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Tim Blackman
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 15:14
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2019 19:30

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.