Continuing Education, Domestic, Ethics, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Required, Students - Written by on Monday, September 12, 2011 7:00 - 2 Comments

“Life Experience” Credit Programs: Why We Think They Are Questionable…

by aryaadhi via Flickr under Creative Commons
Here’s the last installment of online education articles The New York Times published on Aug. 25. This one deals with working adults interested in: Receiving Credit for Job Experience.  We pose several questions at the bottom of this post and welcome your comments and feedback.

Started in January, Learning Counts is a project of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the American Council on Education and the College Board, in which older students take an online course that teaches them to prepare a portfolio that shows what they have learned from work and life experience. The portfolios — one for each subject area in which they are seeking credit — are then submitted to an outside evaluator, who decides whether they should get academic credit.

So far, about 80 colleges, including Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, have agreed to accept those credit recommendations, and to give students three credit hours for the portfolio-creation course.

The article talks about one woman who used the service, paying $500 for a course and $250 for a portfolio review and aimed to get credit for managerial jobs at country clubs, saying she learned the same skills she would learn in a leadership class.

Thoughts from Editor Paul Glader:
These kinds of “Life experience” reviews and programs are questionable. The fact of the matter is – college is not like regular life experience. It is an experience involving learning along fixed coursework following a syllabus. It seems to cheapen a college experience to reward people college credit for things they’ve done outside of college. Most colleges award some credit for an internship…. but that is very limited and usually applies to internships one does related to your major. This other “life experience” credit will not be generally well-regarded by the education community and will, then, always represent inferior degrees. The mantra “Buy-cheap, buy twice” applies. I welcome your responses and thoughts to this question: Should colleges award more “life experience” credit? 


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Sep 12, 2011 14:14

The jury may be out for some time life experience credits. Though I’m my education is self-driven in the Frank Zappa mode, life credits seem too subjective absent rigorous testing in the field of study. Few would deny that BB King, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are well-educated and accomplished in spite of their lack of formal credentials. But for the rest of us, how do we measure life experience in metrics that are universally accepted?

Open-source degree programs are the future! They can be sufficiently rigorous to meet any standard of proficiency and demonstrate mastery of subject material.

When entire degree programs are offered at little or no cost, with a reasonable charge for proctored testing, counseling, and assistance, this country will have the most educated workforce on the planet in under a decade for a fraction what we spend for an education system as anachronistic as the post office.

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Sep 25, 2011 2:31

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