Prior Learning Assessments For Students

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Prior Learning Assessments For Students

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process utilized by some colleges and universities to assign credit at the undergraduate level for learning that has taken place informally, either through independent study, work experience, or from non-degree courses. Students must already be registered as full-time students before qualifying for PLA, and may be subject to certain conditions (i.e., can only challenge up to a maximum credit load as defined by the institution).

Colleges and universities have opened this process to students as a way of identifying and validating unique skills and training, and turning that learning into something tangible. It's important not to shrug off those elective courses you may have taken years ago, or the workshops and professional development training taken through your place of employment.

Now, it may sound like a simple process, but PLA isn't meant to be an easy way to get a credit, it's meant to turn prior learning into something applicable towards that final degree. Before going through the PLA process, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I have five or more years of solid experience, (gained through work, volunteer and/or leisure activities) in one field?
  2. Do I have five or more years experience in fields related to my core field that collectively demonstrate a consistency of professional/vocational purpose?
  3. Do I have a broad range of experiences, related to my core field or related fields
  4. Do I maintain currency in my profession or vocation by reading recent publications, by enrolling in credit or non credit courses and attending conferences, workshops?
  5. Do I consolidate my diverse learning experiences by earning formal educational or professional recognition?
Once you have a clear sense of the path you've been on, it might be time to look into a Prior Learning Assessment.



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