• Apply for Admission
  • Explore Programs and Courses
  • Pathway to Student Services
  • Resources and Library Services
  • Alumni, Friends, and Community

I know a lot about child care, but who will give me credit for that knowledge unless I take a college course?

What is experiential learning?

What is experiential (prior) learning assessment?

What are the routes for obtaining credit for learning from experience?

How can I sign up for the pre-approved community trainings?

Where can I use the experiential learning assessment credits?

Will other institutions accept the experiential learning credits from Metropolitan State University?

May I get credit according to how many years I have worked in child care?

Can you give me an example of someone earning credit for experiential learning?

What factors are used to decide how much how much credit I might get?

Who makes the final decisions about my credits?

Do I have to be admitted to Metropolitan State University?

Could I apply these credits towards a college degree?

How much does this cost?

How do I benefit form participation in this program?

Where do I get more information?

Where do I mail in my documents (e.g., Form A, Quick Start Registration Form, Training Certificates, assignments)?

How do I get my grade or transcript?

How long does the experiential learning assessment process take?

Can I get graduate credit for my experiential learning?

What workshop is right for me?

1. I know a lot about child care, but who will give me credit for that knowledge unless I take a college course?

For more than 30 years, Metropolitan State University has assisted students who wish to have their experiential learning assessed for college credit.  The University believes that there are many life and work situations through which you may have acquired college-level learning.  For example, you may have taken training courses or workshops offered through a child care organization.  Perhaps you have done volunteer work, or have had a job in which you learned a lot.  Your experiential learning in the child care profession is important, and it is possible that you may be able to earn college credit for it.

2. What is experiential learning?

Experiential learning is learning that occurs as a result of life experiences which may include paid and volunteer work, non-credit courses and workshops, self-study, travel, or involvement in the military.  It is learning that occurs outside of a college classroom.

3. What is experiential (prior) learning assessment?

Experiential learning assessment is the process by which such learning is systematically assessed for college credit.  Assessment may include writing a paper, creating a portfolio, taking a test, or an oral interview.  You will work with a faculty evaluator to decide the best way to assess what you already know about the care and education of children. Attend a FREE workshop to learn how more about the experiential learning assessment process.

4. What are the routes for obtaining credit for learning from experience?

There are two different routes you can take to earn credit through the Early Childhood Assessment Program.  You can use Form A to put together a proposal to have your individual learning assessed for college credit or you can link to the training in the community web page and follow the instructions listed for getting credits for pre-approved courses or workshops. However, assessment of experiential learning is not for everyone, if you are a current student be sure to check with your academic advisor to see that credits gained through the experiential learning assessment will fit into your degree program.  If you are not admitted to Metropolitan State University you are only eligible for up to 4 credits.

(top of page)

5. How can I sign up for the pre-approved community trainings?

If you are interested in attending a specific community training visit MNSTREAMS.org or contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency.  Phone numbers and locations can be found through the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network website at http://www.mnchildcare.org/ccrrmap.php.  If you are interested in online classes, visit Eager to Learn at http://etl.mnchildcare.org.

6. Where can I use the experiential learning assessment credits?

These credits can be used to meet the Minnesota educational requirements for an assistant teacher or teacher working in licensed child care programs, the continuing education requirements of licensed teachers, or toward the degree requirements of 2-year or 4-year colleges. 
At Metropolitan State University the credits can be used to meet: 1) General Education and Liberal Studies (GELS) Requirements including Goal V: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2) Electives - most majors have room for about 20 elective credits, and 3) Major Requirements if your major is related to early childhood (check with your academic advisor). However, you do not need to be a degree seeking student at Metropolitan State University to earn up to 4 credits. 

7. Will other institutions accept the experiential learning credits from Metropolitan State University?

Metropolitan State University credit typically will transfer to other institutions of higher education.  However, the receiving institution does have the right to decline the transfer.  In addition, even if the receiving institution accepts the credit, it may not fit into your degree program.  If you are currently a student, please contact your academic advisor before registering for the experiential learning credit.  If you are not a student, you may only apply for up to 4 credits.  Four credits will easily fit into a degree program especially if you are just beginning your college education.

8. May I get credit according to how many years I have worked in child care?

No, not by years of experience alone.  Credit is awarded for learning, not for experience.  In other words, if you have five years of experience doing home-based or center based child care, you will not automatically receive credits for it.  Credit is awarded only for learning that is college level.  Additionally, a Faculty Evaluator must assess your learning.  Your learning must be current, and related to your educational goals.

9. Can you give me an example of someone earning credit for experiential learning?

Let's look at Jill's story.

Jill has been working as an assistant teacher in a preschool classroom for five years.  During her employment, the center director has encouraged Jill to attend training on language and literacy.  Jill participated in inservice training at her center. This training included a session on children's language development.  She has also participated in the SEEDS of Emergent Literacy workshop sponsored by her local Child Care Resource and Referral.  In addition, she went to an early childhood conference and attended two sessions on language and literacy development.  For the past two years, Jill has been using this knowledge as she assists the classroom teacher in structuring the environment and creating lesson plans.

(top of page)

10. What factors are used to decide how much how much credit I might get?

There are a number of ways to look at your learning to try to determine how many credits it might earn.  There is not one specific thing that you look at; rather, it is how the whole package fits together.  The Faculty Evaluator that you work with has been trained to help you with this.

Learning Outcomes.  Imagine that after thinking about your learning experience, you identify about five significant things that you learned.  You can compare these five learning outcomes to those of a college course description to see how your learning matches up with the course description.  The outcomes don?t need to match exactly, but there should be some match, and the content and level of learning should be similar.  Assuming there is a match, you may earn approximately the same number of credits that are awarded for the course.  As a guideline, you may earn one credit for learning that has about three to five significant outcomes.

Time.  It?s tricky to use time as an indicator, since time spent does not necessarily reflect learning that is accomplished.  However, the amount of time you spend on a learning project can be used to help you begin to figure out how many credits might be reasonable. 

time spent on a traditional college course, per credit

16 hours of class time
+       32 hours of homework
=       48 hours
=       1 semester credit

So, if you have spent 16 hours in non-credit courses or workshops, plus you have read several books or journal articles for an additional 32 hours, you are ?in the ballpark? for earning one college credit.  But, keep in mind, you need to be able to identify what you have learned, not just the amount of time you have spent.

Bottom Line.  The number of credits you request in your experiential learning assessment proposal is based on what you have learned (approximately three-five outcomes per credit).  The amount of time you spent learning can also be used as a very rough way to estimate the number of credits.  Your Faculty Evaluator has the final say about the number of credits that are appropriate for the learning.

11. Who makes the final decisions about my credits?

Assessment of individual learning involves identifying what you have learned, how you have learned it, and the level of your learning.  Assessment looks at both practical learning and theoretical learning.  Assessment determines if your learning is college level, or not. Your faculty evaluator can assess your learning through conversations with you, a test, a paper you write, skill demonstrations, a project you have completed - it can be done in a variety of ways.  You and your Faculty Evaluator will discuss how to assess your learning, but your Faculty Evaluator has the final decision about how your learning is assessed.

Evaluators assess courses or workshops by looking at the number and level of learning outcomes that are addressed, whether learning is assessed in the course or workshop, and the credentials of the person doing the training in the course or workshop.

12. Do I have to be admitted to Metropolitan State University?

No.  You can register for experiential learning assessment using the Quick Start Registration Form. If you request four or fewer credits, you do not need to go through the regular university admission process. Click on Forms in the margin to locate the Quick Start Registration Form.  You will also obtain this form if you participate in a face to face or online workshop.

13. Could I apply these credits towards a college degree?

Credits earned in this program can be applied to a degree at Metropolitan State University after you are admitted.  For admissions information and an online application link to Admission page.

The undergraduate application process includes assessment of writing and math skills, along with proof of high school graduation and a C average (2.0 grade point average or better).  If you are unable to meet the admissions criteria for the regular undergraduate admissions application, an alternative admission process may be possible.  This might involve getting letters of recommendation from job supervisors or community sponsors, or other documents.  If you are unable to obtain documentation of high school completion, the Director of Admissions will provide further help. 

14. How much does this cost?

When you submit a form to request Experiential Learning credits, you pay $25 for each credit for which you are applying.  For example, if you submit a proposal for 3 credits, you would pay $75.  If you are applying for regular undergraduate admission, you will need to pay an additional one-time application fee of $20.

15. How do I benefit form participation in this program?

These are advantages to you in taking part in this project:

  • You can save time and money.
  • Your learning is acknowledged and valued at the college level.
  • You gain a deeper understanding of the value of your learning.
  • You may get new ideas about your future and your goals in the field of early childhood.
  • You can earn college credits for your experiential learning.
  • These credits may be applied toward a college degree.
  • Earning college credits opens doors to additional educational and employment opportunities.

16. Where do I get more information?

Register for a free face to face or online workshop.  A schedule of workshops can be found at pworkshop.html.

17. Where do I mail in my documents (e.g., Form A, Quick Start Registration Form, Training Certificates, Assignments)?

Mail documents to:      Early Childhood Assessment Program Coordinator
                                    Psychology Department
                                    Metropolitan State University
                                    1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 101
                                    Saint Paul, MN 55108

18. How do I get my grade or transcript?

After we receive all of your documents, your learning evaluation will be submitted to the Metropolitan State University registration and grades office.  Metropolitan State University does not mail grades to students.  If you need a copy of your grades or transcript call the Records Office Transcript Help Line at 651-793-1233 or visit Records and Registration site.

19. How long does the experiential learning assessment process take?
The process can take as little as a week to complete or as long as a month.  It really depends upon your schedule, motivation, and the assignments to be completed.  The first step to get your individual experiential learning assessed is to fill out the Quick Start Registration Form and Form A.  This process can be very quick!  After the faculty evaluator receives these forms the assessment of learning will be determined.  It is up to you to complete the assignments required for the assessment process.

20. Can I get graduate credit for my experiential learning?

You can request graduate credit, but the level of learning is assessed by the faculty evaluator who determines if credit will be granted at the lower or upper undergraduate or graduate level. 

21. What workshop is right for me?

The face to face workshop is right for you if you learn best by interacting with other people, asking questions, and need motivation to get started on filling out forms and completing assignments.  Attend the "Getting Credit for What You Know" workshop if you would like to learn about how your experiential learning can be assessed for college credit.  Attend the "Career Path" workshop if you want to learn about different careers in early childhood. 

The online workshop is for you, if you are really motivated and a self starter or you live outside of the metropolitan area.  This option does provide some structured support for completing assignments.  It is recommended that you have internet access through Microsoft Explorer and a broadband modem for Internet connection (DSL, cable, or satellite).

The tutorial may meet your needs if you are adept at technology and learn well on your own.  No assistance is provided during the tutorial, but if you have questions you can contact the Early Childhood Assessment Coordinator at ecap@metrostate.edu.

(top of page)

Brooklyn Park - Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center Minneapolis Campus Midway Center Saint Paul Campus Saint Paul Campus