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Making an Experiential Claim


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process used by higher education institutions to formally acknowledge and reward the knowledge, understanding, and skills that individuals have acquired before starting a programme.  This recognition enables learners to avoid repeating their previous learning efforts and eliminates the need to relearn information they already possess. RPL allows learners to build on their existing competencies, which can accelerate their progress towards achieving their educational goals.  This module, Making an Experiential Claim, will support the learner as they embark on preparing their own RPL claim at UWS.  Specifically, the module is designed to help them identify, reflect and build evidence of prior experiential learning that the learner has undertaken through non-accredited means, and prepare a portfolio of evidence which will allow the learner to submit an RPL claim should they wish to apply for recognition of this to allow for entry into one of our academic programmes.

This module focuses on what is called 'Accreditation of Prior Learning' (APEL) and describes prior learning achieved from experiences outside the formal education and training systems (e.g. work/life experience), or via non credit bearing courses (e.g. in-house training).  To prepare a claim for prior experiential learning involves reflecting on the ways in which informal learning has happened, and can be evidenced, recognised and awarded credit. Informal learning is that gained outside a formal learning setting, for example, through work experience, volunteering or leisure activities.  When preparing your claim. It is important to stress that credit is not given for experience alone but rather for the learning gained through that experience. This module will help the learner to evidence this as a comprehensive claim document.

During this module, learners will meet with a tutor to discuss their personal and professional experience to date and explore how this aligns to an existing programme that they have identified.  There are also opportunities for the learner to be supported by additional members of staff at UWS, typically an Education Guidance Adviser and the Programme Leader of the programme the learner has previously identified to align with.  Learners will participate in structured activities, engage with resources and guidance and meet with their tutor to discuss and agree on how to best articulate and evidence their prior experiences in meaningful and authentic way.

Working with their module tutor, the learner will compare their previous experiential learning to the learning outcomes which are listed as part of the programme they wish to study.  This will allow the learner to demonstrate that their previous experiences are equitable in terms of knowledge, expertise and skills to some of those within the programme they have identified for future study. 

The learning outcomes of the module have been carefully designed to recognise the significant effort required by learners as they engage with reflective practices in order to identify and evidence learning which has taken place in a professional/work-place setting.  Furthermore, the skills involved in the organisation and articulation of evidence required to prepare an RPL claim are recognised.  As a result, the module awards 10 credits at Level 11, which formally acknowledges the learning process involved in preparing an RPL claim. 

On completion of this module, the learner would be encouraged to submit their RPL claim, and if successful in the submission of their claim, additional credits could be added to the learner transcript, as per UWS RPL Policy and Practice.  Note, the credits attached to this module are for the task of preparing a claim, and distinct from the credit that may be achieved by the learner should they choose to submit an RPL claim on completion of the module.

On successful completion of this module each learner should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theories of reflection and learning, in order to agree on learning statements relevant to a subject area.
  • Through practice of sophisticated reflection, produce evidence of prior experiential learning which align with an existing framework of learning.
  • Demonstrate and communicate understanding of the synthesized relationship between prior, present and future strengths and skills with particular reference to further study or personal and professional development.
  • Participate responsibly in professional communities of practice, including constructive engagement in peer feedback processes.



This module runs for seven weeks, with six weeks of learning and teaching activity, and the final assessment presentation in Week 7.

Making an Experiential Claim timetable


Course presenter

This module will be delivered by Dr Rachael Flynn.


NOTE: This is a university module and upon approval of your application, you will be invited to register and then supported to complete enrolment. To enrol on the university system, the first step involves security set-up using the Microsoft Authenticator app; you will need to ensure that you have a compatible smartphone.

Further information is available at the Student Information Portal.

To access this module via the CPD route, individuals should be ordinarily resident in Scotland.  If you do not meet this criteria, please enquire here.

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