WHAT IS PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT?
Prior Learning Assessment is the practice of providing opportunities for adult learners to earn college credit for learning obtained from life experience. In reputable PLA programs, credit is not awarded for experience alone; instead, credit is awarded for learning, at the college level, that has been gained from experience. As we tell our students, there is no college-level course in “How Mary raised her kids;” there are college-level courses in Theories of Parenting, Sociology of the Family, and Child Development.
- Read more here from the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) about all the different kinds of PLA programs available to adult college students. Also, here is a recent (2011) CAEL report about the average number of credits students in PLA programs earn.
- Read more here about Marylhurst University’s PLA program. In 2011, Marylhurst celebrated the 35th anniversary of its PLA program!
WHY IS PLA SO COOL?
- PLA offers adults who have the appropriate depth and breadth of learning from experience the opportunity to earn college credit for that learning.
- PLA can accelerate time to degree by formally acknowledging learning that adult learners bring with them.
- PLA can save students a lot of money.
- AND – students report that they are often quite transformed by the experience of doing PLA: They are more confident, they are stronger writers, they are more dedicated to finishing their degree, and they think about themselves as learners differently than before.
HEAR FROM MARYLHURST’S PLA STUDENTS
Below is a list of students who share their experiences with the PLA program at Marylhurst University. Some are videos, some are written testimonials, and all tell good stories about the ways in which the program challenged them, benefited them, and changed their perspective on their experiences and themselves! Thanks to all of our PLA students who are willing to reflect on their experiences, one more time.
- Chip Brinks – Real Estate: Becoming More Cognizant Of Learning
- Greg Carradine – Human Communication: He Learned A Lot In High School (Working There!)
- Christy Dirren – Organizational Communications: She Didn’t Need To Start From Scratch
- Barbara Eckroad – Interdisciplinary Studies: Add It Up: 45 Credits Of Prior Learning
- Helen Fern – Human Studies: Informed By Life Experience
- Julie Fleming – Interdisciplinary Studies: Claiming Her Knowledge
- Donna Gentry – Communications: Prior Learning + New Learning = Deepening Existing Knowledge
- Debra Giannini – Interdisciplinary Studies: She’s Ready For What’s Next
- Jennifer Goff-Hawkins – Business & Leadership: The Power of Peer Review
- Catherine Hooper – Organizational Communications: Learning to Dream Again
- Victoria Hurlock – Communications: She Established A Rhythm
- Jodie Johnson – Interdisciplinary Studies: Balancing New Learning With Prior Learning
- Stephanie Lillegard – Interdisciplinary Studies: Learning A New Way To Learn
- Velda Metelmann – Interdisciplinary Studies: 67 Years of Learning
- Angela Pernisco – Psychology: An Innovator For The Next Generation
- Richard Seymour – Organizational Communications: Education: A Lifelong Process
- Loretta Rowe (Swan) – Interdisciplinary Studies: NOW She Knows!
- Ty Wells – Business & Leadership: A Gift That Keeps On Giving
- David Walker – Interdisciplinary Studies: How You Know It
- Carleen Walsh – Interdisciplinary Studies: One Year Closer to Graduating
RESOURCES & REFERENCES
WANT TO BRING PLA TO YOUR INSTITUTION?
Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more about how you might implement PLA at your institution. CAEL also offers consulting services to universities and colleges about PLA. Click HERE or HERE to learn more.