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PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT AND RECOGNITION (PLAR)

(RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING/RPL)

Giving credit where credit is due

Read more about PLAR

WHAT IS PLAR?

The PLAR process is designed for people who have acquired significant knowledge and skills outside formal college classrooms.The PLAR process identifies, evaluates and recognizes what a student already knows and is able to do for the purpose of awarding academic credit. (Canadian Labour Force Development Board, 1999).

We want to acknowledge that learning does not only take place in a classroom environment, but that individuals learn and develop skills in different ways, including:

  • On-the-job training
  • Non-credit courses / independent study
  • Military service
  • Community and family activities
  • Hobbies and volunteer activities

If you have been accepted into a program at Humber, and confirmed your acceptance through ontariocolleges.ca, you could begin applying for exemption from a course(s) through the PLAR process.

By participating in the PLAR process, you will be expected to showcase gained skills and knowledge by submitting either:

  • Portfolio OR
  • Writing a Challenge Exam

THE BENEFITS OF PLAR

  • Reduces time spent earning a credential
  • Builds self-confidence and improves motivation for learning to have skills recognized
  • Demonstrate what you already know and are able to do
  • Clarify employment and educational goals
  • Validate learning from work or life experiences
  • Gain academic credits, occupational certification

You may be eligible to receive college credits!

Additional costs may be considered for disability accommodation, dependent care, living away from home and academic upgrading.

Transfer credits in a program may be granted for courses taken at other academic institutions. Use the Transfer Credit Application Form in Transfer Credits for requests of this nature.

PLAR FOR ENGLISH, MATH, & LIBERAL ARTS

READ MORE ABOUT PLAR REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE SUBJECT AREAS

Based on prior learning gained through previous employment experiences, some mature students may qualify for an exemption from their second required English communications course (e.g. WRIT 200, WRIT 206, WRIT 220, etc.).

To qualify for a PLAR, students are required to show evidence of mastering the essentials of workplace writing forms by submitting a portfolio of documents produced within professional contexts. The portfolio should contain at least four of the five following items and total approximately 2000 words:

  1. Covering letter highlighting the relevant employment experience(s) and summarizing the contents of the portfolio
  2. Resume
  3. Assortment of workplace communications (i.e., letters, memoranda, etc.)
  4. Proposal
  5. Formal research report

To apply, students should go to the Registrar’s Office and complete a PLAR application form and submit their writing portfolio.  In some cases, PLAR applicants may be asked to write a challenge test in addition to submitting a portfolio.

More information can be obtained at http://www.humber.ca/programs-academics/transfer-options/plar

Important Information

While waiting to hear the results of whether the transfer credit or PLAR has been approved,students should continue attending class.

The PLAR is designed for people who have acquired significant knowledge and skills outside formal college classrooms (usually in the workplace). In mathematics, students demonstrate their skills by taking a written, comprehensive test in the form of a challenge examination.

To apply, students should go to the Registrar’s Office or their website, complete and submit a PLAR application form.

Appeal Process:

If transfer credit is not granted, the student can contact the appropriate Coordinator or Associate Dean to discuss why credit was denied.

Important Information:

While waiting to hear the results of whether the PLAR has been approved, students should continue attending class.

PLAR is a "process of identifying, assessing and recognizing what a person knows and can do for the purpose of awarding academic credit". (Canadian Labour Force Development Board, 1999).  Candidates who demonstrate learning acquired through life and work experience that corresponds to a specific Humber College course or program may be granted PLAR credit in that course.  Unlike transfer credit, PLAR recognizes learning that has been acquired outside of the classroom. In Liberal Studies, students demonstrate their skills by taking a written, comprehensive test in the form of a challenge examination.

To apply, students should go to the Registrar’s Office or their website, complete and submit a PLAR application form.

More information can be obtained at http://www.humber.ca/programs-academics/transfer-options/plar

Important Information:

While waiting to hear the results of whether the transfer credit or PLAR has been approved, students should continue attending class.

If PLAR credit is not granted, the student can contact the appropriate Coordinator or Associate Dean to discuss why credit was denied.

READY TO START THE PLAR PROCESS?

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO APPLY

Application Process & Form

  1. Students obtain the course outline from the Academic School responsible for delivering the course.
     
  2. Students review the course outline to determine if knowledge and skills match the course learning outcomes. Consult with the program co-ordinator if you need clarification. You can search for Program Co-ordinator contact information here.
     
  3. If your Program coordinator requests a portfolio submission, collect documents that support the application for PLAR. These might include: a résumé, a description of experiences and learning that relate to the course being challenged, work samples, and letters of verification. Include a letter describing experiences and the learning that relates to the course outline.

    If your coordinator requests that you sit for a challenge exam, please follow the steps below and the academic school will arrange your exam once you have submitted your application and payment to the Office of the Registrar.
     
  4. Complete the PLAR Application.
     
  5. Submit the application form, supporting documents, and the fee for each course challenged to the campus where the program is located. If you are mailing in your documentation: please include your e-mail and phone number on your application so we can contact you for payment. We will not be able to send your application to the academic school for assessment without payment.

    Humber College North Campus:
    Office of the Registrar - Attn. Transfer Services
    205 Humber College Boulevard
    Toronto, ON  M9W 5L7

    Lakeshore Campus:
    Humber College Lakeshore Campus
    2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive 
    Toronto, ON  M8V 4B6

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact transferopportunities@humber.ca
     
  6. The form and supporting documents are submitted to the course assessor who may contact students to arrange for additional demonstration of learning (personal interview, test or demonstration).

Helpful Links:

Find an Academic School at Humber
View the 2016/2017 Academic Calendar
Explore the Transfer Opportunities website

PLAR Related Links: 

There is a growing awareness and sense of urgency at the provincial and national level that Canada must do a better job of recognizing workplace learning, assessing foreign credentials, and streamlining transferability of credits between educational institutions, please see The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment webpage for more information.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET THE CREDIT YOU DESERVE

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)/Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) is a formal process that allows individuals to identify, document, have assessed and gain recognition for their prior learning. The focus is on learning, rather than the context of the learning. Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, gained from life experiences can be formal, informal or non-formal. PLAR may serve several purposes, including: credit or advanced standing at a post-secondary institutition.

The idea behind PLAR is that the learning that takes place

  • in different educational settings and
  • through experience outside classrooms

Learning experiences are important, but it’s essential to understand that learning does not come automatically with experience and learning differs greatly from individual to individual.

Credit and recognition is given when you demonstrate and validate learning from experiences and not for the experiences themselves. In fact, the Golden Rule of PLAR is: “credit for learning, not experience”.

Depending upon your goal, your knowledge or skills must be related to workplace standards, professional skills and competencies as identified by professional bodies, or learning outcomes as described in the course outlines of post-secondary institutions.

A candidate must be at least nineteen years old, or have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent. If English is his/her second language, he/she may need to complete a test to show that he/she meets college language requirements.

Tools such as challenge exams, demonstrations, structured interviews, simulations and portfolios can be used alone or in combination, for experiential learning and competency assessment in such instances.

Here at Humber, there are two ways to PLAR out of a course:

  • Portfolio Assessment
    A Portfolio is generally a more formal and organized collection of evidence developed by an individual. Your portfolio should showcase your proof of learning. It will demonstrate gained knowledge, skills and abilities. It may be paper based or digital. It is used by individuals to reflect on and verify their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Samples of work may include: a resume, a letter, or description outlining experiences and learning that relate to the course being challenged, work samples and letters of verification.

  • Challenge Exams
    These assessment tools require individuals to respond to a series of specific questions, often in the form of essays, short-answer or multiple choice test items. They are used most often to assess knowledge and a specific subject.

It is possible to obtain a maximum of 75% of the college credits required for a certificate or diploma. The actual number of credits granted depends on the degree of match between a candidate's prior learning and the college course requirements.

But, if a candidate can get credit for even one course, the candidate will save time in earning their diploma!

Assessors are college faculty who have expertise in both the subject discipline and the specific course content. The assessors compare the candidate's level of learning to the stated learning outcomes of the course.

The assessor may verify the documentation with the candidate or may contact employers or references. A team of assessors may review a candidate's portfolio, interview the candidate and/or set a challenge process.

The candidate will be informed whether he/she receive credits for the course, or the assessor may arrange a supplementary challenge process as required.

A province-wide non-refundable service fee (currently $90.64 per course challenge) is charged for each course the applicant wants assessed for credit. This fee will vary depending on the total program hours involved. (*Additional material charges may apply in some cases.)

  • You must have been accepted and confirmed your offer to Humber
  • You can expect the results of your PLAR application 6 to 8 weeks from the time you submit your PLAR application form with supporting documentation
  • Remember to check the Academic Calendar for the last day to add/drop courses for a refund or academic penalty. All results need to be in before these dates, so it is important to APPLY EARLY!

Either a grade (when possible) OR the designation "SAT" ("satisfied") will be recorded on transcript.

No. PLAR is not intended to replace make-up or supplementary exams for enrolled students. If a student has failed a course he/she may apply for PLAR only after 1 year and on demonstration of additional relevant learning experiences.

Canadian Association for Prior
Learning Assessment

There is a growing awareness and sense of urgency at the provincial and national level that Canada must do a better job of recognizing workplace learning, assessing foreign credentials, and streamlining transferability of credits between educational institutions, please see The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment webpage for more information.

mature student