What is a Prior Learning Assessment or PLA?

Beth Dumbauld

A PLA is a Prior Learning Assessment. A PLA (Prior Learning Assessment) assists individuals who have gained significant subject-matter expertise through life experience to document that knowledge and earn college credit. Typically, a PLA is administered through an educational provider as a college credit-bearing course.

A PLA results in a portable, verifiable portfolio of skills and knowledge that has been evaluated by a college faculty member in the relevant subject area(s). Recommendations for college credit are made based on the learning outcomes demonstrated by this portfolio. These college credit recommendations can then be used as transfer credit for college courses by receiving colleges and universities.

A PLA is also used as proof of skill to employers.

Common examples of learning activities eligible for evaluation in a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) include:

  • Military service
  • Work experience
  • Community service
  • On-the-job training
  • Independent study
  • Hobbies

What is a Prior Learning Assessment

 

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