What is PLAR?
UFV respects the learning that students bring to our institution and we will assist adult learners to earn credit for what they already know and can do. Prior Learning Assessment (PLAR) is a process that gives you the opportunity to receive credit for what you already know and can do. Qualified specialists at UFV assess the skills and knowledge that you have already acquired against learning outcomes of UFV courses.
Am I a Good Candidate?
The following criteria is a guideline only, and is not meant to be exhaustive. Contact your academic advisor or a faculty member to discuss your personal suitability.
Your employment history:
- You have at least five years of experience in one job or a number of closely related jobs.
- You have learned and continually upgraded your skills within your field of employment.
- You have entrepreneurial experience.
Your educational history:
- The knowledge and skills that you possess are a result of informal education such as classes taken at a night school or through your employer.
- You have taken post-secondary education that could not be given direct transfer credit.
- You have foreign credentials that have not been recognized in Canada.
Your personal history:
- You have volunteered your skills in the community.
- You are willing to take time to document your learning and explore ways to have it evaluated.
- You can provide evidence of your skills and knowledge.
After reading a course outline you have thought one or more of the following things:
- I’ve done this type of work before.
- I’m doing this type of work now.
- I feel comfortable that I already know how to do what is required in the course, but I’m not sure what evidence I can provide to prove it.
How can PLAR benefit me?
Skills and knowledge learned through experience is called experiential learning and UFV recognizes that adults bring valuable experiential learning to their program of choice at UFV. Experiential learning is in contrast to the type of learning that is done by taking courses at an educational institution which we call formal learning .
You may be eligible to receive transfer credit if you have completed courses at a recognized university or college in or outside of Canada. Transfer credit is an evaluation of the school and the courses you have taken, not an assessment of your individual learning.
Universities assess experiential learning differently because it is your individual learning that is being assessed, not the place or places where that learning took place.
For a better understanding of learning vs experience click here.
How do I get Started?
Step 1 : Investigate PLAR at UFV
Think about your PLAR potential:
- Look through this website
- Attend an information session
- Talk with an academic advisor
Very important step - Get an up to date program plan if you are officially in a program.
Program plans explain how your transfer credit is applied to specific programs, which courses you have to complete to meet program requirements and what options you have regarding completing elective credit in your chosen program. Students can reflect on their past learning experiences and use their up to date program plan to help identify departments and courses suitable for PLAR.
- If you are not officially in a program, contact the advisors attached to program(s) that interest you and request a draft program plan.
If you are unsure of which program you want to complete please use this list of advisors you can use to arrange to talk with people who can help you make decisions in your recognition of learning request.
What to think about when identifying courses to PLAR:
The first order of business will be to view the learning outcomes for that course. Every UFV course has a course outline that includes learning outcomes. Learning outcomes explain what students are expected to have learned by the end of the course. If you feel confident that you have met these requirements through your prior learning then you're on the right track. If, after reading the learning outcomes of the course, you don't feel that your learning is represented, you should consider taking the course.
The next order of business is to organize yourself to talk with faculty regarding your PLAR eligibility. There are several ways you can organize yourself for that discussion. Below are three options.
1. Write personal learning demonstration statements which reflect the learning outcomes of UFV courses. A learning demonstration statement describes the skills, knowledge and abilities demonstrated in prior learning experiences. They make it possible for you to describe your learning (what you know and can do) in a way that can be "assessed" or measured for academic credit.
Sample Learning Outcomes and Learning Demonstration Statements:
Computer Information System (CIS) 100:
"At the end of this course a student will be able to describe the process of developing a document that communicates specific information."
A learning demonstration statement that reflects the CIS learning outcome:
"I have demonstrated the process of developing a document that communicates specific information by identifying the purpose of the document and the intended reader/audience of the document and drafting a plan to create the document."
Once you have written learning demonstration statements for each of the course learning outcomes, you will be ready to move to the next step.
For more on learning outcomes and learning demonstration statements click here.
2. Update your resume to include more detail regarding your employment, volunteerism and hobbies. The updating excercise will help you see evidence of learning within your learning experiences and also helps create a visual of life long learning which you can also draw on in your eligibility discussion with faculty.
3. Follow the eligibility process departments have developed.
Step 2 : Meet with faculty to determine whether you are eligible to pursue PLAR
You may have more than one meeting with the department depending on how equivalent your prior learning is to UFV courses.
If it is determined that you are eligible to pursue PLAR for the course(s), you will then discuss how and when your learning can be formally assessed.
Your advisor will want to discuss:
- Your learning demonstration statements if you have them
- How your learning or skills can most effectively be assessed (see Proving it: Assessment in step 3).
- When and where your assessment will take place.
- Confirm the potential results (letter grade or Credit/No Credit if you are successful or unsuccessful in meeting the learning outcomes of a UFV course or program.
- What you are responsible for in the formal assessment. Studenst are ready to enroll in PLAR sections when they know the requirements of the PLAR and the level of learning necessary to be successful in their PLAR.
- What the faculty assessor is responsible for in the formal assessment. For example - Outlining any resources they will provide students in their PLAR (e.g. textbooks or readings to review prior to formal assessment )
- How and when you will receive your results of your PLAR.
Step 3: Proving it - Assessment
You'll follow the plan that you and your faculty assessor created in Stage 2 of the process. Your assessment could included one or more of the following:
You may be asked to write an exam to test your knowledge. This method is most common when you are challenging a single course rather than a set of courses or program. Questions may be in one format or a combination of formats such as multiple choice, short answers or essays.
In Person Skill Demonstraion
Your advisor may decide that a demonstration of your skills is the best method. This is more common when courses require human interaction (e.g. a foreign language or communications course) or the use of tools (e.g visual arts).
This method is common when you are challenging a set of courses or a program. It may also be required to supplement either of the two above assessment methods. See the Portfolio�Tutorial for a rich set of resources and examples to guide you through the creation of a portfolio.
There are several possible results of a PLAR Assessment:
- You receive a letter grade for the course on your transcript (NC - A+)
- You receive a Credit or No Credit (CR or NCR) on your transcript
- If the semester ends and your assessment is not yet complete, an "in progress" or "I" could be entered on your record. You have several weeks from the time an "I" is entered to gather additional evidence (as necessary) or for the formal assessment to be otherwise completed.
Where do I go for help?
For assistance at any point during the PLAR process, contact:
Email email@example.com for all PLAR related inquiries or or�fill out a form to�contact us online.
University of the Fraser Valley
Phone: 604 851 6342
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