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PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT & RECOGNITION An Overview Dr. Christine Wihak Workplace & Adult Learning University of Calgary.

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Presentation on theme: "PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT & RECOGNITION An Overview Dr. Christine Wihak Workplace & Adult Learning University of Calgary."— Presentation transcript:

1 PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT & RECOGNITION An Overview Dr. Christine Wihak Workplace & Adult Learning University of Calgary

2 Definition of PLAR Brief look at research on ITIs (internationally trained immigrants) and PLAR Description of PLAR process PLAR resources available in Canada

3 What is PLAR? The practice of reviewing, evaluating, and acknowledging the information, skills, and understanding that adult learners have gained through experiential or self-directed (informal) and/or non-credit courses and workshops (nonformal) learning, rather than through formal education (Thomas, 2000).

4 Why do PLAR? For immigrants, there is the potential for Canadian credentialing of foreign experience and training and connecting them to the right work Potential benefits of PLAR to ITIs –It reduces time needed to complete credential; dont need to re-learn material learned elsewhere –It reduces costs of completing credential –It improves confidence

5 Research on PLAR and immigrants Livingstone, Raykov, & Turner (2005) cross-Canada survey on Work and Learning –Found two-thirds of immigrant respondents interested in gaining recognition for informal and non-formal learning Saskatchewan survey of immigrants (Shmyr, 2003) found that none of the respondents had heard of PLAR (process, methods or term) Learning Innovations Forum doing research on an e- portfolio system for immigrants (http://www.futured.com/documents/LIfIAProjectAnnouncementAugust05.pdf) Wihak working on proposal to do applied research on PLAR and ITIs in Canadian post-secondary setting

6 PLAR for Immigrants has 3 parts….. Assessment of formal international credentials: WES, 5 provincial agencies, professional associations, regulatory bodies, sector councils, h.e. institutions Assessment of language skills in English and French: standard tests, ESL providers etc. PLAR focus: assessment of work and other experience for formal educational credit recognition or to meet job requirements.

7 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal CredentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Informal and non-formal

8 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal credentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Employment

9 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal credentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Employment Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job

10 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal credentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Employment Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the ITI Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job

11 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal credentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Employment Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the ITI Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job = THE GAP + THE BRIDGE THE FIT

12 Internationally Trained Immigrant Formal credentialsLanguage ProficiencyExperience Employment Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes = THE GAP + THE BRIDGETHE FIT FCRe.g. TOEFLPLAR/APEL

13 Nonformal learning PLAR can recognize learning gained outside of formal education system For ITIs, formal learning gained in foreign education system sometimes not recognized by through usual channels of Canadian formal education system Foreign formal education might be recognized through PLAR process of recognizing nonformal learning

14 How is PLAR done? Several different methods for assessing learning: –Interviews, demonstrations –Review of job-based training –Review of foreign credentials not recognized through credential evaluation services –Challenge exams –Portfolio development and review

15 Building a Portfolio Portfolio commonly used for PLAR Steps in portfolio development 1.Create a learning narrative that describes significant learning experiences 2.Identify specific learning in each learning experience 3.Create learning statements 4.Document learning statements

16 How to Describe Learning – Blooms Taxonomy Know Describe List State Tell Recall Recognize Identify Name Note Quote Locate Comprehend Translate Organize Abbreviate Clarify Symbolism Transfer Define Interpret Infer Predict Explain Demonstrate Familiarize Apply Generalize Solve Transmit Personalize Rethink Revise Rework Recognize Project Extend Code Analyze Distinguish Recognize Validate Outline Diagram Observe Categorise Inquire Delineate Organise Translate Classify Synthesize Create Design Invent Elaborate Initiate Originate Delete Visualise Imagine Modify Code Hypothesize Predict Combine Minimize Maximize Adapt Evaluate Judge Prove Disprove Validate Debate Weigh Discuss Appease Assess Value Measure Prioritize Examine

17 Learning Example (fictional) Learning Narrative from an Eastern European ITI: –I worked in an international NGO where a dress code was introduced. The effect on the employees was to make them feel more confident and more important. They make comments like: I feel like Im really working because I need to wake up a little bit early and dress up for work. Learning Statements: –I observed the relationship between the employer expectations concerning dress and employees attitudes. –I hypothesized that employers could increase employee productivity by changing an organizational culture through methods such as dress codes.

18 Portfolio Process Commonly used process At Athabasca University, used to gain credits towards a program, not just a course Portfolio development courses available on-line

19 PLA Centre -- Halifax

20 Athabasca University

21 Mohawk College -- Hamilton

22 CAPLA: Info on PLAR at Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions

23

24 References Livingstone, D. W., Raykov, M., & Turner, C. (2005). Canadian adults' interest in prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR): A 2004 national survey. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Shmyr, Z. (2003). Recognition of prior learning (RPL) within the newcomer community: A needs assessment final report. Regina: Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies (SAISIA). Thomas, A. (2000). Prior learning assessment: The quiet revolution. In A. Wilson & E. Hayes (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

25 More Info on PLAR? State of the Field Review –Review of PLAR research from –Coming soon to website of Canadian Council on Learning

26 Contact Information Dr. Christine Wihak (403)


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