Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process that results in achieving credit for college courses based on evidence of learning that has occurred outside a school environment. Students identify and provide proof of knowledge, skills and abilities gained from work, seminars, workshops, or other life experiences that fulfill the requirements of a course. This learning must be current and equivalent to the outcomes of the course in order for credit to be granted.
PLAR is based on learning gained from the various experiences as opposed to years of experience in a given area.
The PLAR process is rigorous, systematic and assessed against established academic and workplace standards so that recognition can be awarded. At Holland College, course-based PLAR may be assessed by two processes: challenge for credit (which could be exams, demonstration of skills, interviews or other agreed upon assessment tools) and/or development of a portfolio.
PLAR is not the same as transfer of credit which is receiving credit for courses taken at another post-secondary institution. For information on transfer of credit, contact the Admissions Office.
Who should apply for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition?
PLAR is for students who have significant work and life experience and learning which may be equivalent to college courses. You should be able to identify learning acquired in different situations and places of work. The learning should be current, relevant to the course for which PLAR is requested and of sufficient breadth and depth to ensure college level learning.
Eligibility to PLAR
You may be eligible to PLAR a course if:
- You have several years’ experience working in the specific field that encompasses the content of the course;
- You have taken a similar course or workshop that cannot be transferred from another institution;
- You have attended several seminars or workshops, or volunteered in an area relevant to the course you wish to PLAR;
- You score above the indicated mark on the self-assessment found in the Resource Guide for the course.
Assessment of PLAR
Your prior learning may be assessed by one or more of the following methods:
Challenge for Credit: the skills, knowledge and abilities contained in a course are assessed by:
a) An exam
b) An interview
c) Project completion
Portfolio: a detailed collection of documents and proof of learning that is assembled by the student in order to demonstrate appropriate prior learning.
Fees and Timelines
Regular course fees will be charged for PLAR.
The PLAR process should be completed at least one week before the start date of the course.
For more information on the PLAR process, contact Natalie Worthen by email or by calling (902) 629-4235.