About the Department
Experiential and lifelong learning is learning that has occurred outside of a traditional classroom. Students may obtain college credit at UIS by presenting their experiential learning for assessment in a portfolio that includes the following information:
- chronological record of learning experiences
- narrative essay
The UIS Prior Learning Assessment program guides students through the development of this experiential learning portfolio. Students create their first model portfolio in EXL 305 Prior Learning Portfolio Development, a course that awards 3-4 credit hours for successful completion.
Prior Learning also facilitates the assessment process of additional experiential learning portfolios in some majors. Students may create additional portfolios for up to 12 additional credit hours, for a total of up to 16 credit hours of experiential learning, depending on the academic program.
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has been in the forefront in developing ways to assess learning not easily evaluated by traditional techniques. The portfolio model is one approach to assessment. UIS faculty are members of CAEL and adhere to CAEL best practices in prior learning. Credit for coursework completed through non-traditional avenues is a widespread practice at more than 3,500 accredited institutions.