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PLAR is a process that allows individuals to identify, document, have assessed and gain recognition for prior learning. The learning may be formal, informal, or experiential. Examples of where you can acquire learning:

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


How the recognition or prior experiences can benefit your educational journey:

  • Reduce time spent earning a credential
  • Build self-confidence and improve 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


If you have been accepted into a program at Humber, and confirmed your acceptance through, you can 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 a Learning Portfolio or writing a Challenge Exam.


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 208, 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 at least 2000 words:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume
  3. Assortment of workplace communications
  4. Proposal
  5. Formal research report

To apply, students should follow the steps below.


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Obtain the current course outline(s) from the Faculty responsible for delivering the course.

Review the course outline to determine if your knowledge and skills match the course learning outcomes.

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Consult with the program coordinator for clarification and to help you with matching your experience and learning to the course learning outcomes.

Prepare Documentation
If your program coordinator requests a portfolio submission, collect documents that support the application for PLAR. These might include a: resume, a description of experiences and learning that relate to the course being challenged, work samples, or letters of verification.

If your coordinator requests that you sit for a challenge exam, please follow the steps below and the faculty will arrange your exam once you have submitted your application and payment to the Office of the Registrar.

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Submit the application form and supporting documents to If you are unable to email your portfolio, please contact us at the email above to discuss alternative submission.

The $84.00 PLAR fee for each course will be posted to your account. Fee payments must be made through online banking. Please refer to for payment options.

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).

To request forms in an alternate format contact us.

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Find a Faculty at Humber >

View the 2020/2021 Academic Calendar >

Explore Transfer Opportunities >

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 web page for more information.


Grab 15 minutes with a transfer advisor to discuss your Transfer Credit(s), Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), and Pathways.


Read these FAQs for everything you need to know about Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition.

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, and 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 instutition.

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, the student may need to complete a test to show that they meet college language requirements.

Please see the Humber course outline for PLAR eligibility or speak to your Program Coordinator. Some courses may not be eligible for PLAR based on accreditation standards or other industry requirements (i.e. Paralegal).

It is possible to obtain a maximum of 75% of the college credits required for a credential. The actual number of credits granted depends on the level 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 credential!

A province-wide non-refundable service fee (currently $84.00 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.)

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

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.

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.

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 they receive credits for the course, or the assessor may arrange a supplementary challenge process as required.

  • You must have been accepted and confirmed your offer to Humber
  • You can expect the results of your PLAR application 4 to 6 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!

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