The APEL (Accreditation/Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning) systems in the UK and France are probably the best developed in Europe, but they are underpinned by different conceptions of learning and experience. In this article, we attempt to understand the two different approaches to APEL within the framework of Goethe’s ‘natural phenomenology’, which essentially attempts to understand phenomena in their own right, without analysing them into parts. An initial analysis would suggest that in the UK the APEL process reflects a conception of experience and learning as being built up of a number of smaller units. In France, on the other hand, the process involves instead a more holistic approach to the evaluation and understanding of experience and learnin
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