PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT RECOGNITION

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					     PRIOR LEARNING
ASSESSMENT & RECOGNITION

           An Overview

       Dr. Christine Wihak
    Workplace & Adult Learning
      University of Calgary
• Definition of PLAR
• Brief look at research on ITIs
  (internationally trained immigrants) and
  PLAR
• Description of PLAR process
• PLAR resources available in Canada
             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).
              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; don’t
    need to re-learn material learned elsewhere
  – It reduces costs of completing credential
  – It improves confidence
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
    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.
                                            Informal and non-formal


            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal Credentials   Language Proficiency         Experience
            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal credentials   Language Proficiency       Experience




                        Employment
            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal credentials    Language Proficiency          Experience




     Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job



                          Employment
            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal credentials    Language Proficiency          Experience



    Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the ITI


     Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job



                          Employment
            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal credentials    Language Proficiency          Experience



    Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the ITI
                      THE FIT        = THE GAP + THE BRIDGE

     Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes of the job



                          Employment
            Internationally Trained Immigrant

Formal credentials    Language Proficiency         Experience

            FCR e.g. TOEFL              PLAR/APEL

         Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes
                     THE FIT        = THE GAP + THE BRIDGE

         Competencies, knowledge, skills and attributes



                          Employment
         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
        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
            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
    How to Describe Learning – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Know            Comprehend    Apply         Analyze       Synthesize    Evaluate

Describe        Translate     Generalize    Distinguish   Create        Judge
List            Organize      Solve         Recognize     Design        Prove
State           Abbreviate    Transmit      Validate      Invent        Disprove
Tell            Clarify       Personalize   Outline       Elaborate     Validate
                Symbolism     Rethink       Diagram
Recall          Transfer                                  Initiate      Debate
Recognize                     Revise        Observe
                Define                      Categorise    Originate     Weigh
Identify Name                 Rework                      Delete        Discuss
                Interpret     Recognize     Inquire
Note                                                      Visualise     Appease
                Infer         Project       Delineate
Quote                                       Organise      Imagine       Assess
Locate          Predict       Extend
                                            Translate     Modify        Value
                Explain       Code          Classify
                Demonstrate                               Code          Measure
                Familiarize                               Hypothesize   Prioritize
                                                          Predict       Examine
                                                          Combine
                                                          Minimize
                                                          Maximize
                                                          Adapt
    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 I’m 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.
            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
PLA Centre -- Halifax
Athabasca University
Mohawk College -- Hamilton
         CAPLA:
Info on PLAR at Canadian
Post-Secondary Institutions
                   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. 508-522). San
   Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
        More Info on PLAR?
• State of the Field Review
  – Review of PLAR research from 2000-2005
  – Coming soon to website of Canadian Council
    on Learning
Contact Information


     Dr. Christine Wihak
    cwihak@ucalgary.ca
      (403)-210-3921