On the 22nd June 2023 Advenio eAcademy organised a Forum on recognition of prior learning within higher educational institutions with local speakers and international speakers from Italy, Greece, Slovakia, and Lithuania.
The event was part of the project wrap-up activities of the ARPEL4Entrep Erasmus+ project implemented over the period 2020-23. The project was led by Advenio eAcademy in collaboration with the HEI Partners, University of Bari also Moro, Italy; University of Ioannina, Greece, University of Zilina, Slovakia and Vilnius University, Lithuania, and Technical Partners, EUCEN, Belgium and eBusiness Systems, Malta.
Mr. Stephen P. D’Alessandro, Executive Director of Advenio eAcademy welcomed the speakers, programme participants and guest to the event. He provided a brief outline of the ARPEL4Entrep project which was co-financed by Erasmus+ and allowed the partners to leverage their competencies in e-learning, their collective expertise and resources to provide three sets of deliverables. (1) Research on the best practices in RPL in the field of business studies and in determining SME needs in a post-COVID-19 environment; (2) Design, development, production accreditation and implementation of an ARPEL based online Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship; and (3) Post-implementation research to identify the effectiveness of the ARPEL process implementation in the recruitment of students for the programme.
The first presentation dealt Best Practices in RPL and provided an overview of the research conducted as part of the Erasmus+ ARPEL4Entrep Project. The presentation was delivered by Prof Jenny Pange on behalf of the University of Ioannina and Prof. Radovan Madlenak on behalf of the University of Zilina.
The second presentation dealt the Case Study: Erasmus+ ARPEL4 Entrep: 2020 – 2023 Implementation of ARPEL as part of a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship. This comprised two perspectives, the academic programme and the underlying technology. The first part was presented by Stephen P. D’Alessandro on behalf of Advenio eAcademy who provided details on the design and development of the programme to include the ARPEL (accreditation & recognition of Prior Experience & Learning) including the MFHEA accreditation process. The second part was presented by Nicholas D’Alessandro on behalf of eBusiness Systems and covered the development of the online registration and evaluation platform used for the ARPEL process and the elearning platform used for the implementation of the programme.
A presentation by Profs Danutė Rasimavičienė, Elzė Rudienė and Ieva Druktenė on behalf of the Vilnius University Business School provided an overview of the results of the feedback received from Faculty and students. They also provided details on their dissemination event in Lithuania and the Lithuanian perspective to ARPEL. In closing off the presentation Prof. Alessandro Pagano on behalf of University of Bari spoke about the ARPEL registration process and how this impacted the overall implementation. He spoke about future plans to streamline the process and introduce AI in the registration and evaluation processes.
These presentations were following by a panel discussion by representatives of the Partner HEIs and eBusiness Systems as the technical partner on the project. The panel discussion addressed the challenges of evaluation non-formal and informal learning and on the need for appropriate documentation to support work-based learning and experiences.
A number of students that successfully completed the pilot programme were present for the event. They spoke about their own personal experiences of the ARPEL process and the completion of the Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship programme. They commented favourably on the ARPEL process which enabled them to valorise their past learning and experience and commented positively of the on-going support provided throughout the programme.
The final presentation was given by Mr. Lawrence Azzopardi, Head Accreditation, Quality Assurance and Validation at the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority putting forward the regulator’s perspective and commitment to recognition of prior learning within the HEI sector. Following the presentation Mr. Azzopardi led a Q & A session that provided further detail on the MFHEA initiatives in this area.
In closing the event, the successful students were presented with their Degree in Entrepreneurship. These were:- Argyropoulou, Valentini – Greece/Malta; Ayodele, Believe – Nigeria/Malta; Fernandez Edwin – Columbia/Malta; Manglara, Vasiliki – Greece; Magglaras, Christos – Greece; Mati, Jakub – Slovakia/Malta, Theodoridis, Alexandros – Greece; Tsourekas, Charalampos – Greece; Vasiliou, Kypros – Cyprus.