Credit for Prior Learning

Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

Eastern Kentucky University recognizes students may have educational experiences which occur outside the traditional college setting.  There are many types of learning that can be evaluated, including learning from:

  • Work experience and job skills
  • Employer training programs
  • Military service
  • Independent study
  • Volunteer or community service
  • Open source courseware study or other self-study
  • Other training or skills

The knowledge you have gained outside the classroom is extremely valuable. At Eastern Kentucky University we have a process for turning this learning from professional experience into academic credit.  You can save time and money as you earn your degree.  We offer several forms of non-traditional assessments of prior learning for which students can receive academic credit. 

These include:

How Does Portfolio Assessment Work?

Eastern Kentucky University recognizes that college level learning occurs in a variety of settings. Portfolio assessment is one process that can be used to document learning that took place outside the college classroom.  Portfolio Assessment at EKU offers an online course that provides you with the guidance and structure needed to prepare Learning Portfolios which reflect the knowledge and expertise you have learned outside of the classroom.  

In just six weeks, you will be guided through everything you need to do to earn credit for what you already know.  Your completed Portfolio will then be assessed and credits will be awarded based on how your knowledge matches what you would have learned in college courses.  The credits you earn may be directly applied to your degree. Students who are interested in developing a portfolio(s) for consideration will enroll in the following class:

CAEL 100. Prior Learning Theory & Practice (3) A. Prerequisites ENG 102(C) or ENG 105(B) or HON 102 or approval of chair of student’s major. Course start and end dates and drop deadlines are different than other EKU courses. Students will have a small window in which they may drop, but cannot withdraw from this course. Course drop dates will be published on the following website:  Students are responsible for reading the course policies related to credit-for-prior learning on this website.  Course helps students identify prior learning that may be appropriate for college credits.  Guides students through the preparation and compilation of all components required for evaluation of a portfolio of prior learning though LearningCounts.Org. Graded CR (Credit) or NC (No-Credit) basis.

To determine whether you are a good candidate for this program,* please contact or call (859)622-7686.  Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to earn college credit for what you have already know and get a jumpstart on your degree!

* Certain programs have external accrediting bodies and institutional policies which may prohibit this kind of credit from being applied to their degree program. 

Steps in the Portfolio Process

Once you have met with an advisor and determined that you are a good candidate for portfolio assessment there are a series of steps you will need to complete:

  1. With your advisor’s help, identify a course for which you would like to attempt credit, by browsing catalog course descriptions. Once you find a course that is a possible match then the next step will be to find a related course syllabus.  Review the learning outcomes to ensure you feel you have significant learning in all outcomes listed. 
  2. Register for the CAEL 100 course which is administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) through its LearningCounts program. LearningCounts will reach out to you upon your enrollment and create an account for you. The Wednesday before the course starts a LearningCounts adviser will give you access to the course materials, and notify you via email.
  3. Complete the online portfolio development (CAEL 100) course.  Portfolios consist of several elements including a written reflection and a 5 to10 page narrative, along with evidence to support your learning.  This evidence will probably include artifacts like presentations, reports, letters from employers, certifications, etc.
  4. Your portfolio will be evaluated by a trained content expert in the area for which you are seeking credit.
  5. If your portfolio is deemed acceptable for college level credit then EKU’s Registrar’s office will be notified and the appropriate credit will be applied to your academic record.


CAEL 100. Prior Learning Theory & Practice

Q: What is CAEL 100?

A:  CAEL 100 is a 3-credit hour, 100% online instructor-led portfolio course designed to assist students in the identification of learning that they may want to have evaluated for a college-level course.  The course guides student through the preparation and compilation of all components required for the evaluation of a prior learning portfolio.

Q: How long does CAEL 100 last?

A: CAEL 100 is a 6-week course that occurs online, and is offered twice monthly.  Students have the option of extending the course an additional 2 weeks with no additional cost and can use that time as a Portfolio Development Workshop.

Q: How much time do I have to submit my portfolio?

A: While the CAEL 100 course must be completed with the 6 week timeframe, students can take a bit longer to complete the portfolio.  Students have up to six months but are encouraged to submit their portfolio within 2-3 months from the start of the course.

Q: How much does CAEL 100 cost?

A: CAEL 100 is charged to the student account and the tuition is reflective of EKU’s current per credit hour rate for online courses (currently $400 per credit).  Registration in CAEL 100 also includes one 3-credit portfolio assessment at no additional cost.

Q: How is CAEL 100 graded?

A: CAEL 100 is graded on a Credit or No Credit basis.  EKU will apply a student’s grade as (S) Satisfactory or (U) Unsatisfactory on their transcript.

Q: How does financial aid apply?

A:  For students receiving federal aid funds, CAEL 100 can be covered by aid as long as it applies to the student’s chosen major.   An “S” grade is counted as completed and a “U” grade will count as an incomplete course in a student’s overall attempted hours for financial aid purposes.

Q: How will the portfolio credit be awarded?

A: CAEL 100 and credit awarded through portfolio will be recorded as EKU credit.  It is important to note that the awarding of portfolio credit is not guaranteed. 

Q: What can I expect once I register in the CAEL 100 course?

A: LearningCounts will reach out to the student upon their enrollment and create an account for them. The Wednesday before the course starts a LearningCounts adviser will give the enrolled EKU student access to the course materials, notifying them via email. The LearningCounts adviser will also reach out the first day of the course. LearningCounts will continue to reach out throughout the first week until the student logs in successfully.


CAEL 100 IMPORTANT INFORMATION for Students and Advisors

***Important Note:  CAEL 100 does NOT follow the same class pattern as other EKU courses.***

CAEL 100 is a 3-credit course that must be completed before students can submit portfolios for potential credit for other courses. 

  • Students register for CAEL 100 via a hidden CRN that they get from their advisor. Contact the Student outreach and Transition Office (SOTO) at or call (859)622-7686.
  • Tuition is the standard, online, fee for a 3-credit course
  • Students will earn 3 credits (free elective) for successful completion of CAEL 100
  • For no extra charge, students’ may earn additional credits for a course for which they complete a portfolio.  They will learn how to create the portfolio in CAEL 100.
  • After completion of CAEL 100, students may submit one portfolio free of charge
  • Additional portfolios can be submitted for $125.00 paid directly to LearningCounts (students will learn about this process in CAEL 100).
  • CAEL 100 is six weeks long, and is taughtontheLearningCounts LearningManagementServer (LMS)
  • Students must have a syllabus of a course for which they want to build a portfolio.
  • Grading is Credit/No Credit.


***Important Note:  CAEL 100 does NOT follow the same class pattern as other EKU courses.***
  • The CAEL 100 week always starts on a Monday.
  • Students who fail to participate by not completing required assignments on‐time for two weeks will be Administratively Withdrawn for Non‐Participation by LearningCounts with no tuition refund






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Student registration information is sent to LearningCounts by Benton Shirey, Director, University Advising at or phone (859) 622-2276.