Introduction to Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Barbara Miron, Coordinator, Adult Basic Education Education, Culture and Employment 2009 LINX Conference
Overview • What is PLAR? • Different Kinds of Learning • Assessment of Learning • PLAR Portfolios • Documentation of Learning • Recognition of Learning • PLAR Activity
What is PLAR? • PLAR is a fresh way of looking at how people gain knowledge and skills. • PLAR recognizes learning that is derived from an experience, not the experience itself. • PLAR is a process which identifies, assesses and recognizes what a person knows (knowledge) and can do (skills). • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is another term used to describe this process.
Different Kinds of Learning • Formal learning: learning that occurs through an accredited program in an academic institution and is documented on a transcript. • Informal learning: the lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and skills from daily experience at work, at home, on the land and in the community. • Non-formal learning: learning that occurs through organized activities outside of a formal educational system.
Assessment of Learning Prior learning has to be measured against an established set of standards: • Learner outcomes from recognized courses • Descriptive list of competencies • Skills checklists.
Principles of Quality Assessment • Rigorous – equivalent to the expected level for classroom learning. • Transparent – learners must be informed about how they will be evaluated. • Fair – unbiased, treating all learners equally. • Flexible – open to a wide range of ways of learning and knowing the content.
Flexible Assessment Methods • Self-assessment narratives and checklists • Product assessment, work samples • Projects, assignments, case studies • Reports, logs, journals • Written and oral challenge exams • Signed verifications • Skills demonstrations, performance assessments • Simulations, role plays • Interviews, oral presentations • Portfolio review, evidence collection • Evaluation of program equivalencies
PLAR Portfolio • A detailed document, which describes and verifies your knowledge, skills and achievements as well as your personal goals. • Tells who you are, what you have done, what you have learned and what your goals are. • Provides evidence of your learning. • Can be used for personal growth, seeking employment and applying for course credit.
Developing a PLAR Portfolio • Life mapping to identify learning from life and work experience. • Identify knowledge and skills gained from life and work experience. • Relate learning to career and education goals. • Compile evidence to document knowledge and skills.
Contents of a PLAR Portfolio • Cover page • Table of contents • Letter of introduction • Career and education goals • Resume • Learning outcomes or skills statements • Documentation of learning
Documentation of Learning • Direct evidence: anything that is produced by the individual. • Indirect evidence: information about the individual from another source. • Self-assessment: an individual’s own assessment or narrative about his or her learning.
Recognition of Learning After prior learning has been assessed, it can be recognized in several ways: • Course credit with an educational institution • Advanced standing in a course or program of study • Workplace performance appraisals • New employment opportunities.
PLAR Activity • List 2 – 3 significant learning experiences in your life. • Briefly state what you learned through these experiences.
PLAR Activity • Working with a partner, categorize the learning experience you have listed as informal learning, formal learning or non-formal learning. • Formal learning: learning that occurs through an accredited program in an academic institution and is documented on a transcript. • Informal learning: the lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and skills from daily experience at work, at home, on the land and in the community. • Non-formal learning: learning that occurs through organized activities outside of a formal educational system.
PLAR Activity • Select one learning experience from your list. • Working with another partner, brainstorm ways that that you could prove your learning.