Improving Open Access through Prior Learning Assessment

Shuangxu Yin, Paul Kawachi


This paper explores and presents new data on how to improve open access in distance education through using prior learning assessments. Broadly there are three types of prior learning assessment (PLAR): Type-1 for prospective students to be allowed to register for a course; Type-2 for current students to avoid duplicating work-load to gain certification; and Type-3 mapping occupational skills as portfolio-needs analysis. In each of these some e-assessment can play a role, notably in Type-3 in distance education. Our previous research has been in Type-2 and we report the empirical results and challenges involved in practice. Moving beyond Type-2 we further report how e-Type-3 can improve our practice in the Open University of China—a very large ODL provider. We discuss the barriers and challenges being faced, and ways being explored to resolve these issues, to reduce the costs involved and to improve open access to learning.


Open access; PLAR; Profiling; Reducing costs

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