What is Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)?
PLAR is a process in which college-level learning gained through previous work and life experiences is identified, evaluated, compared to College course requirements and translated appropriately into College credits. PLAR is directed towards the evaluation of learning gained from experience, and is not the same as “exemption” or transfer of academic credits from other educational institutions.
What is college-level learning?
College-level learning is equivalent to the knowledge, skills and values expected from college courses. College-level learning must have both a theory base and a practical base. It should be possible to apply the learning acquired in different situations and places of work.
In what ways might I have acquired college-level learning?
Adult learners may acquire college-level knowledge and skills by engaging in independent study, personal projects and reading, paid or voluntary work, travel, military service and non-college courses and training programs.
Do I need to be a specific age to qualify as an adult learner?
No. All college students are considered to be adult learners. However, usually the adults who qualify for prior learning credits are over 22 years of age and have had independent life and work experience over and above that normally acquired during the adolescent years.
How many course credits can I get through PLAR?
It is possible to achieve a maximum of 75% of college credits required for a credential through the process of PLAR. The number of credits which you would obtain would depend upon the nature and extent of your learning and how well your learning matches the College course requirements.
PLAR candidates in a bachelor’s degree program may be awarded no more than fifty percent (50%) of the total number of hours in the program of study through prior learning assessment and recognition.
If I have some but not all of the learning required in a course, will I be able to receive partial credits?
A College “credit” is normally provided for completion of one course. If the assessor determines that some essential learning required in the course is missing, s/he may recommend and assist you in developing a learning contract. Through the learning contract, you will establish an individualized plan for achieving the required learning. Once the learning has been achieved and re-evaluated, you will be awarded the course credit(s).
What exactly is a learning contract?
The learning contract is an agreement reached between you and the assessor which addresses the learning requirements which must be achieved in order for a course credit to be awarded.
The learning contract specifies:
a) the learning outcomes to be achieved
b) how these outcomes are to be accomplished (learning resources and strategies)
c) the target date for their accomplishment
d) the evidence that will be presented to demonstrate their accomplishment
e) how this evidence will be judged/validated.
Where do I begin, if I want to get credit for my prior learning?
You should begin by contacting:
Lorraine St-Pierre, PLAR Administrator
Tel: (613) 727-4723 extension 7027
The PLAR Administrator will provide academic advice and information, determine your eligibility and assist you through the PLAR process.
If this fee must be paid in advance what guarantees do I have of obtaining credit?
There are no guarantees that you will obtain credit through PLAR, just as there are no guarantees that you will obtain credit through taking a college course. However, the PLAR Administrator and program advisors will assist you in pre-determining your chances of success. It is important that you weigh the benefits against the risks.
How will the College assist me in preparing for PLAR?
The PLAR Administrator and Program Advisors will assist you in obtaining current course outlines, as well as portfolio guidelines, in order for you to prepare for challenge test(s) and/or create your portfolio.
Can I prepare a portfolio on my own?
Yes, many candidates develop their portfolio independently but require the Portfolio Guidelines from the PLAR Administrator.