The Recognition of Prior Learning in an Undergraduate Program in Informatics - Insights and Challenges



  • Prof. Dr. Uwe Elsholz, University of Hagen
  • Hoai Nam Huynh, University of Hagen
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Desel, University of Hagen


In Germany, the recognition of prior learning is often connected with the transition from vocational training to higher education. In a project at Fernuniversität in Hagen we take existing competencies into account in different ways. General crediting, individual crediting and a methodical-didactic approach are combined.

The project is based in the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. If you hold a certificate as IT-specialist and work in the IT-sector, it is possible to shorten the duration of a computer science study by up to 60 ECTS-credits. We present the approach of the project and put the gained knowledge up for discussion.

While there are some established tools like a portfolio for recognition, the organizational dimension is still a challenge. We argue that the decision to recognize individual modules must take into account the entire curriculum of a program.

The lessons learned are mainly related to the organizational level. Thus, there are some issues that need to be carefully considered at the faculty level, e.g., who has to decide about recognition. In addition, there are some challenges that are at a higher level of the whole organisation (e.g., related to student counselling and advising).

Prof. Dr. Uwe Elsholz

Professor of Lifelong Learning, University of Hagen
since 2019 Vice-President for Continuing Education, Knowledge Transfer, and International Affairs
since 2013 Professor for Lifelong Learning International Affairs

Hoai Nam Huynh

Researcher, University of Hagen
since 2019 researcher at University of Hagen; Research Cluster D²L²
„Digitalization, Diversity and Lifelong Learning. Consequences for Higher Education.“

Prof. Dr. Jörg Desel

Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Hagen
since 2015 Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
since 2012 Professor at University of Hagen, Software engineering and theory of programming

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