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Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

Credit for Prior Experiential Learning is intended for mature students who have already accrued some relevant learning, either through formal structured education or through involvement in employment, community activities or volunteering, for example. If you have such prior learning, you may be entitled to credits or exemption from one, or sometimes two, years of a course of study. For example, you may be eligible for APEL if you have Certificated Prior Learning, such as a counselling or psychotherapy qualification or a certificate awarded by a recognised awarding body. Please note, though, that only the parts of a prior qualification that are directly relevant to the learning outcomes of your intended programme will be recognised for the purposes of awarding credit. To evidence prior certificated learning, you will be asked to submit copies of relevant certificates, along with a reflective piece of writing of 1000-2000 words, describing how your previous learning meets the learning outcomes of the year or years that you wish to APEL.

You can also claim academic credit for Experiential Learning, or learning that is derived from experience and/or work. For example, you may have worked in a therapeutic community for several years and have undertaken substantive training in the same modality or modalities as the programme you are seeking entry to. If this is the case, you can submit evidence of your prior relevant experience in the form of a 8000-9000 word portfolio for each year that you wish to APEL.

It may be that a prior qualification only counts towards a proportion of the credit needed to APEL into a particular year of a course. In this case, you will need to evidence both Certificated and Experiential Learning. For example, you may have undertaken one or two years of psychotherapy training at another institute and wish to transfer to a similar course at Metanoia. This is the most common form of APEL, and where this occurs, you will need to submit a 4000–5000 word portfolio evidencing both relevant certificated and experiential learning. As well as providing a similar reflective piece to that which is required if you were submitting only certificated learning (see above), the remainder of your portfolio needs to evidence how your experiential learning meets those learning outcomes not covered by your certificated learning.

HOW DO I APPLY? - If you feel that your prior learning may qualify, you should state clearly on your application form that you wish to be considered for APEL. Your application form should include details of your previous qualifications and experience. For example, if you wish to apply for one of our psychotherapy courses and you have a previous counselling qualification, you would state your qualification and include your certificate as evidence. If you are not sure whether your previous experience is applicable, please feel free to email the relevant Programme Leader to arrange a brief discussion. (You will find details of who to contact by clicking on the relevant course leaflet).

Once your application has been received, you will be invited for an APEL interview to clarify the APEL process and discuss how to build your APEL portfolio such that it links with the learning outcomes of the year(s) that you wish to APEL. You will also need to attend an introductory workshop (which may happen before the APEL interview). Providing you pass the interview and the introductory workshop, and your portfolio satisfactorily demonstrates the learning outcomes of the course, you will be offered a place.

Please note that to be considered for APEL you need to have substantive, relevant experience and training that covers the theory of the course that you wish to be considered for. The fact that you make have undertaken a short counselling skills course or had two years of therapy, for example, while demonstrating interest and commitment, is unlikely in itself to constitute learning equivalent to the first year of the course.