Theories and Analysis of PLAR

Allen, Robert, and Geoff Layer. (1995) Credit-Based Systems as Vehicles for Change in Universities and Colleges. London, Eng.: Kogan Page.

Review by Ted Nakhle, Academic Secretary, University of Sussex. June 1996; posted to the scotcat-cats e-mail list of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Scottish Office: This is a timely, readable yet ultimately tantalising volume. Its objectives are to consider how and why credit as a "phenomenon" has crept up on the HE sector, and emerged as a potential basis for a range of activities including funding; and, to draw some lessons in the influencing and management of change. The range of interest in "credit" is indeed remarkable, stretching from government departments and funding councils through employer organisations and TECs to HE (and FE) institutions both collectively and severally. A common agenda is inconceivable and the case studies described highlight the suspicions of "hidden agendas"; the narrative is littered with words like "battle" and "control". The analysis points to how credit has been seen variably as a means of changing the system and of responding to changes in the system. A pervasive theme is the shift to a mass system alongside declining units of resource and demands for greater accountability. In fact, accountability may provide the common theme although that is not the principle conclusion of the authors. They provide vivid and lucid evidence of the "tyranny of the three year degree", of the autonomy of subject or disciplinary groups, and of "changes in the balance of power", without, however, fully exploring the hegemony of the research-driven "old" universities. The strength of departments whose members often identify more with their professional peer group than with their employing organisation, who "alone" can define and understand the cohesion of a progressively structured degree course but who also constantly feel the need to defend their position in order to seek greater or stable resources provides a dilemma for managers and for pioneering practitioners. A key issue is who is, or should be, responsible to whom? Although thin on formal analysis of change management in an ambiguous and politicised context, the stories provide exemplary support for Enderud's "Four Phase Model" in dealing with non-routine, non-programmed planning decisions of high visibility and potentially high conflict (1). This requires proper allowance for an essentially highly ambiguous period (bull session), a political period (negotiation), a collegial period (persuasion/legitimating), and an implementation period (bureaucratisation). To miss, or shortcut, any phase is to invite subsequent problems. More analysis of the role of credit-based systems in requiring transparent definitions of objectives and outcomes so rare in the holistic concept of a degree, might throw further light on the motives of interested parties. The authors have served to raise these and other questions, to reinforce the lessons in managing innovation and change, and, crucially, to evidence the view that the successful introduction of credit-based systems is institutionally unique and could fail, or be hijacked, under a too uniform or standardised framework.

Barkatoolah, A. (1989) "Some Critical Issues Related to Assessment and Accreditation of Adults' Prior Experiential Learning." Making Sense of Experiential Learning: Diversity in Theory and Practice. Eds. S. Weil and I. McGill. Milton Keynes, UK: Society into Research in Higher Education and Open University Press.

Barker, Kathryn. (1997) Implementing the PLAR Standards: Quality Assurance (presentation). [On-line] Available [November 08, 1999]

Benett, Yves. (August 1989) "The Assessment of Supervised Work Experience (SWE) -- A Theoretical Perspective." Vocational Aspect of Education 41(109), 53-64.

See abstract under 3 (PLAR and Work).

Boornazian, Sharyn S. (1994) Prior Learning Assessment Using Story: Academic Access for Underserved Populations. (Volumes I and II). Ph.D. dissertation, Union Institute.

Boud, David, Ruth Cohen, and David Walker. (1993) Using Experience for Learning. Buckingham, Eng.: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. [189 pages]

Boud, David, Rosemary Keogh, and David Walker, eds. (1985) Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. London: Kogan Page; New York: Nichols Pub. [170 pages]

Briton, D., W. Gereluk, and B. Spencer. (1998) "Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: Issues for Adult Educators." In Proceedings of 17th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education, University of Ottawa, Ontario, 24-29.

Increasing pressure is being brought to bear on the educational establishment to grant credit for informal and non formal learning. Adult educators, many of whom have long recognized the value of prior learning, tend to support such Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) initiatives without reserve. This paper argues for a more critical evaluation of PLAR.

Burnard, Philip. (April-June 1988) "Experiential Learning: Some Theoretical Considerations." International Journal of Lifelong Education 7(2): 127-33.

The author discusses three aspects of the theory of knowledge: propositional knowledge, practical knowledge, and experiential knowledge. He also discusses problems of research in the field. Descriptors (major): Cognitive Structures; Experiential Learning; Learning Processes; Learning Theories (minor): Adult Education; Research Needs.

Challis, Maggie. (Jan./Feb. 1996) "Andragogy and the Accreditation of Prior Learning: Points on a Continuum or Uneasy Bedfellows?" International Journal of Lifelong Education 15(1), 32-40.

Document Type: position paper; journal article. Andragogy's concern with process is at odds with the competence movement's emphasis on outcomes. Accreditation of prior learning, a system of assessing and certifying competence acquired through experience, has some similarities with andragogy. Learner reflection and identification of learning in many different contexts can bridge the gap. Descriptors: Andragogy; Certification; Competency Based Education; Credits; Prior Learning. ISSN: 0260-1370.

Dochy, Filip J.R.C., and Patricia A. Alexander. (September 1995) "Mapping Prior Knowledge: A Framework for Discussion Among Researchers." European Journal of Psychology of Education 10(3), 225-42. 

Document Type: project description; journal article. Target Audience: Researchers. Reviews the current literature concerning prior knowledge in an attempt to clarify problems with the terminology. Identifies the three main problems: lack of definition or vagueness, nominal versus real definitions, and different names/ same constructs or same name/ different constructs. Includes a conceptual map of prior knowledge terminology. Descriptors: Cognitive Mapping; Cognitive Measurement; Cognitive Processes; Cognitive Structures; Cognitive Style; Cognitive Tests; Concept Formation; Definitions; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Jargon; Learning Modalities; Learning Processes; Literature Reviews; Metacognition; Prior Learning; Schemata (Cognition); Vocabulary. Identifiers: Anderson (P); Dochy (J).

Dochy, Filip J.R.C., and G. Moerkerke. (April 1994) "Recent Developments Concerning Individual Study Programmes in Higher Education and Alternative Assessment Procedures for Students." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 4-8.

53 pages. Document Type: evaluative report; conference paper. The need for study programs that fit better to the characteristics of learners, their interests, and the labor market has led education from being supply driven toward being demand driven. The construction of individual study programs requires appropriate assessment methods. The technologies generally available for assessment seem to reinforce the supply-driven nature of assessment, but demand-driven education, where students influence content selection and teaching is growing. The central finding of research of the past 15 years is that the key to developing an integrated and generative knowledge base is to build on the learner's prior knowledge. An empirical study is reported that focuses on the application of new forms of assessment for individual study programs, concentrating on prior knowledge and progress assessment. Questionnaire responses of 2,000 university students show that students largely agree with the use of prior knowledge state and progress tests and that their aims are improvement of knowledge and of study methods. Seven graphs and one table present study findings. Descriptors: College Students; Educational Assessment; Educational Research; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Individual Instruction; Labor Market; Measurement Techniques; Program Development; Test Construction. Identifiers: Alternative Assessment.

Dochy, Filip J.R.C., and others. (December 1996) "The Importance of Prior Knowledge and Assessment for Increasing Efficiency of the Learning Processes, Especially in 'Problem-Based' Powerful Learning Environments." European Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 3(3), 141-66.

Document Type: review literature; journal article. Research shows that learning efficiency increases by building on prior knowledge and using multiple assessment tools. Powerful learning environments start with authentic problems and build knowledge through cooperative learning. Informal assessments integrated with assessments of prior knowledge identify further educational approaches. Descriptors: Educational Assessment; Educational Environment; Efficiency; Learning Processes; Prior Learning. Identifiers: Problem Based Learning; Transformative Learning.

Dochy, Filip J.R.C., and others. (1996) "Integrating Assessment, Learning, and Instruction: Assessment of Domain-Specific and Domain-Transcending Prior Knowledge and Progress." Studies in Educational Evaluation 22(4), 309-39.

Document Type: evaluative report; journal article. The integration of assessment, learning, and instruction are discussed, focusing on the importance of students' prior knowledge. A literature review and analysis of 128 studies provide support for the assertion that assessment has an important impact on instruction and learning. Positive effects were found for progress assessment. Descriptors: Academic Achievement; Educational Assessment; Formative Evaluation; Instructional Effectiveness; Integrated Activities; Knowledge Level; Meta Analysis; Prior Learning. Identifiers: Domain Knowledge.

Edwards, Richard. (November-December 1994) "'Are You Experienced?': Postmodernity and Experiential Learning." International Journal of Lifelong Education 13(6), 423-39. 

"New right" governments may support experiential learning because of its role in developing self-discipline and law abiding citizens and consumers. Adult educators and trainers must understand and engage in debates about experiential learning and postmodernism to understand their own practices. Descriptors (major): Adult Education; Capitalism; Experiential Learning; Government Role; Middle Class; Popular Culture; Self Control.

Evans, Norman. (1994) Experiential Learning for All. New York: Cassel.

111 pages. Document Type: book; review literature. This book overviews experiential learning in the various contexts in which it has developed over the last decade. Experiential learning involves the knowledge and skills acquired through life and work experience and study, which are not formally attested through any educational or professional certification. The first chapter defines the assessment of prior experiential learning (APEL) as learning that has not been assessed, and differentiates it from the assessment of prior learning, which also includes learning that has been assessed for some formal purpose. The interest in experiential learning has resulted from increasing dissatisfaction with the view that significant learning only takes place in formal institutions, and in particular, leads to examination results, certificates, and qualifications. The significance of experiential learning is that it challenges the many well-established ways of doing things in education and in employment. Another part of its significance lies in its potential to further British government policies that aim to increase participation rates in all forms of post-secondary education. Thus, experiential learning is a national issue connecting with the policies of government, with employing organizations, and with teaching institutions. The remaining chapters of the book define and consider APEL in the context of British higher education, further education, adult education, the professions, teacher education, employment and unemployment, assessment, staff development, and international developments. The last chapter projects the future of APEL. Descriptors: Adult Education; Educational Assessment; Educational Change; Educational Policy; Educational Theories; Elementary Secondary Education; Employment; Employment Experience; Experiential Learning; Futures (of Society); Prior Learning; Professional Education; Role of Education; Staff Development; Teacher Education; Vocational Education. Identifiers: Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning; Great Britain. 10016-8810 (paperback: ISBN 0-304-33102-3; hardback: ISBN 0-304-33100-7). ISBN: 0-304-33102-3.

Evans, Norman. (1990) "Pragmatism at Work in Britain: Some Reflections on Attempting to Introduce the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning." Studies in Continuing Education 12(2), 122-130.

Fraser, Wilma. (1995) Learning from Experience: Empowerment or Incorporation? Leicester, Eng.: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.

222 pages. Document Type: book; project description. Based on a Making Experience Count (MEC) project, this book examines current trends in learning from experience. Chapter 1 discusses key theoretical elements that underpin work in the field of experiential learning and analyzes the contribution of the andragogic approach to adult learning. Chapter 2 offers an alternative model -- gynagogy -- and broadens the debate to incorporate contradictions that andragogy fails to address. Chapter 3 represents a personal account of the learning process. Chapter 4 describes tutor recruitment and training. Chapter 5 describes the MEC course at Ford Motor Company and examines issues that arise when facilitating personal reflection within a hierarchical and public arena. Chapter 6 is an account of two courses designated as outreach programs. Chapter 7 discusses the specific issues that arise when facilitating MEC within a single-sex framework. Chapter 8 examines work with a group of long-term unemployed persons and highlights the problems that lack of self-esteem bring to the learning process. Chapter 9 assesses the value of assessment of prior experiential learning (APEL) as an admissions tool for entrance to higher education. Chapter 10 relates the story of the Kent APEL Consortium, charts the reasons for its inception, and notes its untimely demise. Chapter 11 discusses problems inherent in accrediting MEC. Chapter 12 describes work within a particular ethnic minority community and introduces the question of the cultural transferability of the MEC process. A 58-item bibliography is appended. Descriptors: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Certification; Credits; Ethnic Groups; Experience; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Minority Groups; Prior Learning; Unemployment; Womens Education Identifiers: Great Britain. ISBN: 1-872941-60-5.

Hall, Dai. (Spring 1994) "A Strategy for Awarding Students Credit for Prior Experiential Learning Whilst Protecting Academic Standards." Journal of Further and Higher Education 18(1), 21-30.

Hamilton, Richard J. (June 1994) "Semantic and Conceptual Ambiguities in Prior Learning Assessment." Journal of the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning (Adult Learning, Currency and Subjectivity in PLA).

Document Type: serial; position paper. 25 pages. This inaugural issue of the Journal of the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning begins with this article. It is the basis for a session presented at the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning in June 1994. The article discusses issues important to both practitioners and theoreticians in the field of adult learning and its assessment, including the experiential learning movement, the relationship between experience and learning, arguments against the awarding of college credit for learning acquired off campus, and the strengths of prior learning assessment. 

Harris, J. (1997) "Recognition of Prior Learning: Towards a Learning Approach and a Methodology." Unpublished paper, University of Cape Town.

In this paper it is suggested that much RPL practice is inadequately theorised and based on unelaborated assumptions about adult learning and about the relationships between different forms of knowledge. It is argued that a learning rather than an accreditation-only approach to RPL is needed. Drawing on a range of insights from adult learning theory, cognitive theory and the sociology of education, a case is made for the development of an RPL process based on Vygotsky's notions of Zones of Actual and Proximal Development and collaborative learning.

Harris, J. (1998) "Ways of Seeing the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): What Transformatory Potential Does it Have?" Paper presented at ICEL 1998.

Given the varied contexts and discourses within which RPL has developed, it is not surprising that there are a vast array of practices and procedures calling themselves RPL. This paper presents a schema which consists of an analysis of 3 models of RPL -- 2 of which are common internationally -- one of which is more aspirational. It is argued that most existing RPL practices are not reflective of the contemporary conditions of late- or post-modernity and furthermore embody implicit theories of functioning in social context. The third model is an attempt to reconceptualise RPL. It is suggested that with careful conceptualisation and a strong 'theory of possibility' RPL can make a contribution to social transformation.

Hull, Rebecca C. (June 1993) "In Support of Prior Learning Assessment." In Support of Prior Learning Assessment and Outcomes Assessment of Prior Learning Assessment Programs: Proceedings of the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. Ed. Debra A. Dagavarian. Princeton, New Jersey, June 12-15. Chicago and Trenton, NJ: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and Thomas A. Edison State College.

Document Type: position paper; conference proceedings. This publication contains two papers from the 1993 National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. Hull's highlights arguments in opposition to the acceptance of prior learning assessment and the responses that might best counter these arguments.

Humphries, Beth. (1992) "Equal Opportunities and Educational Values in the Assessment of Prior Learning." In Education and Community: The Politics of Practice. Eds. Garth Allen and Ian Martin. New York: Cassell Education Series.

The ambiguity of the term "equal opportunities" is functional. It therefore commands almost universal approbation. In reality, however, the individualistic and meritocratic rhetoric of current usage serves merely to mask and, therefore, legitimize inequalities of both condition and outcome. These are articulated in terms of class, gender, race, age, and sexual orientation. In this chapter, Beth Humphries presents a systematic analysis of the narrowly conceived economic rationale. She goes on to demonstrate, using case material drawn from her own experience of social work courses in higher education, how this can be countered at professional and institutional levels by validating the knowledge and experience which students from traditionally non-participant groups may have to offer. Positive action strategies, however, presuppose that the hidden agendas which inform and distort academic and professional thinking are exposed, problematized, and reconstructed. Only in this way can the "'criteria' of 'excellence' make the rehearsal of personal experience a potentially intellectual exercise."

Hutchings, Pat, and Allen Wutzdorff. (Fall 1988) "Experiential Learning Across the Curriculum: Assumptions and Principles." New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Knowing and Doing: Learning Through Experience) 35, 5-20.

Jackson, Lewis, and Doug MacIsaac. (Summer 1994) "Introduction to a New Approach to Experiential Learning." New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 62, 17-28.

Document Type: position paper; journal article. A process model for experiential learning (EL) in adult education begins with the characteristics and needs of adult learners and conceptual foundations of EL. It includes methods and techniques for in-class and field-based experiences, building a folio (point-in-time performance assessment), and portfolio construction (assessing transitional change and cumulative learning). Descriptors: Adult Education; Experiential Learning; Learning Theories; Portfolios (Background Materials); Student Characteristics; Student Evaluation. Identifiers: Authentic Assessment; Process Models. ISSN: 0195-2242.

Keeton, Morris T., ed. (1994) Perspectives on Experiential Learning: Prelude to a Global Conversation About Learning. Chicago: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

This publication is a compilation of essays that reflect the diversity of approaches within the field of experiential learning. The essays represent some of the perspectives and practices, issues and concerns, questions and challenges with which practitioners and theorists deal every day.

Keeton, Morris. (April 8 1993) "Is Experience the Best Teacher?" Innovation Abstracts 5(11).

4 pages. Document Type: serial; review literature. Target Audience: Practitioners. The best learning results from experiential learning, the interplay between theory and experience. In experiential learning, the student is in direct touch with the realities being studied. It involves not merely undergoing the experience, but also doing something with the phenomenon. Theories of experiential learning include: (1) learning how to do a task or play a role; (2) reformulating knowledge already learned; and (3) developing affective and cognitive insights. The challenge in experiential education is to find ways to combine the theoretical and experiential components of learning programs. Descriptors: Definitions; Experiential Learning; Learning Theories; Literature Reviews; Teaching Methods. Identifiers: PF Project.

Keeton, Morris T., and others. (1976) Experiential Learning: Rationale, Characteristics and Assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

293 pages. Document Type: book. The history of post-secondary education in the U.S., and the role of experiential learning in its improvement are discussed. Topics of discussion include: the relationship of experiential learning to individuals' information processing, the need to clarify objectives, and the potential effect of new educational objectives on teaching and institutions of higher education. The cost effectiveness of experiential learning and implications for university administration are also discussed. The contributors address the state of the art in the assessment of experiential learning, recommend standards for assessment, and suggest approaches to the improvement of assessment practices. Descriptors: College Credits; College Students; Cost Effectiveness; Credentials; Educational History; Educational Objectives; Evaluation Methods; Evaluation Needs; Evaluators; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Individual Development; Informal Assessment; Interpersonal Competence; Learning Processes; Post-secondary Education; Special Degree Programs; Standards; Student Attrition; Student Evaluation.

Keeton, M.T. (1986) La reconnaissance des acquis hier, aujourd'hui et demain/Prior Learning Assessment Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Montreal: Federation des cegeps.

30f. Descriptors: Federation des CEGEPs; Experiential learning -- Addresses, essays, lectures.

Keeton, Morris T., and Pamela J. Tate, eds. (1978) Learning By Experience: What, Why, How. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kolb, D.(1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as a Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Heights, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Lamdin, Lois. (1991) Roads to the Learning Society. Chicago: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Twenty of the leading experts in adult and experiential learning contribute insights and perspectives on such issues as: the history of portfolio assessment; the relationship between experiential learning and adult development; the need and basis for guidelines for workplace policy-making at the state and national levels. ISBN: 07872-33498.

Lueddeke, George R. (1997) "The Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning in Higher Education: A Discourse on Rationales and Assumptions." Higher Education Quarterly 51(3), 210-224.

McCormick, Donald W. (Jan./Feb. 1993) "College-Level Learning and Prior Experiential Learning Assessment." Adult Learning 4(3), 20-22.

Document Type: journal article; position paper. Three qualities form the foundation of college-level learning: (1) conceptual knowledge -- articulation of concepts, theories, and principles; (2) generalizable knowledge; and (3) courses traditionally taught in college -- excluding secondary courses, non-credit programs, popular learning, and vocational courses. Descriptors (major): College Credits; College Programs; Concept Formation; Liberal Arts (minor): Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Prior Learning. Subjects covered: Learning, Psychology of/ Experiential learning; Credits and credit systems/ Colleges and universities; College students/ Age.

McGill, Ian, and Susan Weil. (January 1990) "Making Sense of Experiential Learning." Adults Learning 1(5), 136-139.

The four "villages" of experiential learning (EL) are: 1) assessment and accreditation of prior learning; 2) EL as the basis for change in post-secondary institutions; 3) EL as the basis for community action and social change; and 4) EL as a medium for personal growth and development. Descriptors (major): Community Action; Continuing Education; Educational Change; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Individual Development; Institutional Mission; Prior Learning; Social Change.

McGinley, Leann K. (October 1995) "Transformative Learning and Prior Learning Assessment." In Celebrating Excellence: Learning and Teaching in Adult Higher Education. 15th National Conference on Alternative and External Degree Programs for Adults. Columbus, OH, October 5-7.

Michelson, Elana. (1996) "Beyond Galileo's Telescope: Situated Knowledge and the Assessment of Experiential Learning." Adult Education Quarterly, 46(4), 185-96. 

Michelson argues that current approaches to prior learning assessment are grounded in Enlightenment theories of knowledge and do not adequately reflect alternatives proposed by post-modernism, feminism and anti-racist theories. These new theories lend support to grounding assessment in situated knowledge rather than previous paradigms.

Michelson, Elana. (1996) "Taxonomies of Sameness: The Recognition of Prior Learning as Anthropology." Paper presented at the International Conference on Experiential Learning, University of Cape Town, South Africa, July 10.

Moerkerke, George. (1996) Assessment of Flexible Learning: Performance Assessment, Prior Knowledge State, and Progress Assessment as New Tools. Utrecht, Netherlands: Uitgeverij Lemma BV. [254 pages]

Mulligan, John, and Colin Griffin, eds. (1992) Empowerment through Experiential Learning: Explorations of Good Practice. Bristol, PA: Kogan Page.

258 pages. Document Type: book; collection. This volume brings together papers from the 1991 Conference on Experiential Learning held at Surrey University (England); its 25 chapters are divided into 5 sections. An introduction provides a brief overview of each chapter. Section 1 is concerned with theoretical frameworks and philosophical and critical reflection: "Absorbing Experiential Learning" (Griffin); "Learner Experience: A Rich Resource for Learning" (Saddington); "Experiential Learning: the Confucian Model" (Mak); "Exploration of Levels of Awareness and Change Processes in Group Encounter" (Barber); "Politics of Facilitation: Balancing Facilitator Authority and Learner Autonomy" (Heron); and "Silent Learning: Experience as a Way of Knowledge" (Ranjan). Section 2 deals with the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL): "Linking Personal Learning and Public Recognition" (Evans); "APEL for Access to Science and Technology" (Paczuska); "Women's Informal Learning in a Neighbourhood Setting" (Webb, Redhead); "Constraints upon Portfolio Development in the Accreditation of Prior Learning" (Balckman, Brown); and "Making Experience Count: Facilitating the APEL Process" (Hull). Section 3 discusses issues related to the institutional assimilation of experiential learning: "Empowerment through Experiential Learning" (Tate); "Cooperative Inquiry into Organizational Culture: Wrekin District Council Experience" (Marshall); and "Police Probationer Training: Resistance to Writing as an Aid to Reflection in Experiential Learning" (Bartrop). Section 4 focuses on experiential learning processes from a variety of different perspectives: "Adventure-Based Experiential Learning" (Richards); "In the Midst of Experience: Developing a Model to Aid Learners and Facilitators" (Boud, Walker); "Reflection and Empowerment in the Professional Development of Adult Educators" (Knights); "Internal Processors in Experiential Learning" (Mulligan); "Creative Capability and Experiential Learning" (Henry); and "Suggestopedia: Way of Learning for the 21st Century" (Hooper-Hansen). Section 5 presents examples of teaching and facilitation methods for experience-based learning: "Learning Contracts: How They Can Be Used in Work-Based Learning" (Marshall, Mill); "Learning Experiences for Professional Reality and Responsibility" (Anderson, McMillan); "Experiential Learning Approach to Developing Clinical Reasoning Skills" (Higgs); "Task and Reflection in Learning to Learn" (Anderson); and "Encouraging Experiential Learning: Lessons from the 16-18 Curriculum Enrichment Programme" (Taylor). A subject index is provided. Descriptors: Adult Education; Certification; Conference Proceedings; Credits; Educational Assessment; Educational Innovation; Educational Policy; Educational Practices; Experience; Experiential Learning; Learning Processes; Learning Theories; Lifelong Learning; Prior Learning; Teaching Methods; Theory Practice Relationship. ISBN: 0-7494-0680-1.

O'Banion, Terry. (1997) A Learning College for the 21st Century. Phoenix: American Council on Education/Oryx Press.

Peruniak, Geoff. (Spring 1994) "Reply to Dr. Thomas [On his article: Comment on 'The promise of experiential learning and challenges to its integrity by prior learning assessment']." Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education 20(1), 66-67.

Descriptors: Experiential learning; Prior learning; Apprentissage par l'experience; Connaissances acquises. ISSN: 0318-9090. 

Peruniak, G.S. (Spring 1993) "The Promise of Experiential Learning and Challenges to Its Integrity by Prior Learning Assessment." Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education 19: 7-30.

This paper examines experiential learning and certain challenges raised by developments in PLA. The paper looks first at the historical roots of learning, some of the major influences in its development in the last 25 years, problems of definition, and its potential for integration of holistic learning. The last part of the paper considers some of the challenges raised by PLA, one of the tools developed from experiential learning that is being used increasingly by universities, governments, and industry to solve economic and manpower problems. The author draws on his experience in Britain to highlight some of these problems and to look at the implications for Canada. Descriptors: Experiential learning; Informal education; Admission criteria; Outcome based education; Apprentissage par l'experience; Education informelle; Criteres d'admission; Enseignement base sur les resultats. Identifiers: University level; Niveau universitaire.

Peruniak, Geoff S. (June 1991) "Prior Learning Assessment: Challenges to the Integrity of Experiential Learning." Paper presented at the 10th Annual Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE) Conference, Kingston, Ontario. [18 pages]

Portier, Stanley, and Leo Wagemans. (1995) "The Assessment of Prior Knowledge Profiles: A Support for Independent Learning?" Distance Education 16(1), 65-87.

Document Type: evaluative report; journal article. A study examined the role of prior knowledge analysis. Prior knowledge is an important interaction variable that provides a reliable determinant of future learning results. A step-by-step procedure that guides potential users to the development of reliable and valid prior knowledge state (PKS) tests was used on a random sample of 67 first-year social sciences students. A comparison of students with a low PKS on statistics with students with a high PKS indicated a higher test score for the latter group. Further analyses on separate parameter-scores within the behavioral and knowledge dimension revealed that the high PKS group obtained higher scores than the low PKS group on all parameters. However, multivariate analyses of variance and related discriminant analyses indicated that the prior knowledge difference appeared most pronounced for the behavioural dimension and the knowledge dimension. It is concluded that prior knowledge profiles may be helpful in enhancing a student's learning process, designing more flexible learning environments, and providing instructional support. Subjects covered: Prior knowledge; Independent study; Distance education. Descriptors (major): Cognitive Structures; Distance Education; Educational Development; Educational Environment; Evaluation; Independent Study; Instructional Design; Learning Processes; Prior Learning; Student Improvement. ISSN: 0158-7919.

Rose, Amy D. (1990) "Nontraditional Education and the Assessment of Prior Learning." In Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education. Eds. Sharon B. Merriam and Phyllis M. Cunningham. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rose, Amy D. And Meredyth A. Leahy, eds. (Fall 1997) New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (Assessing Adult Learning in Diverse Settings: Current Issues and Approaches) 75.

Chapters include: Carol E. Kasworm and Catherine A. Marienau, "Principles for Assessment in Higher Learning": The authors offer five principles of adult-oriented assessment based on commonly held premises of adult learning, and include examples of good practice in higher education and other sectors; Stephen D. Brookfield, "Assessment in Critical Thinking": The author discusses the process of critical thinking and his belief that it is social process, then offers three locally grounded strategies for assessing critical thinking: experiential, behavioural and conversational; Richard J. Hamilton, "The Assessment of Non-collegiate Sponsored Programs": The origins of the Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction are explored and its processes are outlined; the remainder of the chapter discusses the issues surrounding use of the program in higher education today; Elana Michelson, "Multicultural Approaches to Portfolio Development": The author contends that assessment of prior learning is based largely on Western academic assumptions about objective, universal knowledge. She explores efforts in New Zealand and Ontario, Canada, to assess knowledge that is embedded in specific cultural and ethnic contexts and that challenges current definitions of accredible learning; Paula E. Peinovich, Mitchell S. Nesler and Todd S. Thomas, "A Model for Developing an Outcomes Assessment Plan: The Regents College Outcomes Assessment Framework": Based on a multiple measures approach to assessing institutional effectiveness, the outcomes framework described also serves as the basis for continuous improvement of academic programs and services for adult learners; Eunice N. Askov, Barbara L. Van Horn and Priscilla S. Carman, "Assessment in Adult Basic Education Programs": The needs of various stakeholders are considered in this discussion of the purposes, strengths and weaknesses of a number of individual- and program-level assessment strategies in adult basic education; Patricia L. Inman and Sally Vernon, "Assessing Workplace Learning: New Trends and Possibilities": Current issues relating to workplace learning are explored and several innovative approaches are presented; Judith M. Ottoson, "Beyond Transfer of Training: Using Multiple Lenses to Assess Community Education Programs": The transfer of learning to the workplace continues to be an issue of concern to trainers and educators in all venues; in this chapter the author explains the benefits of using multiple lenses to assess training effectiveness; Amy D. Rose, and Meredyth A. Leahy, "Assessment Themes and Issues": The themes and issues that emerged in the previous chapters are reviewed and analyzed, and the implications for future trends in assessment are considered.

Sansregret, Marthe. (June 1989) "Prior Learning Assessment: An Interesting Challenge for the Next Decade." In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education/ Les actes du congres annuel de l'association canadienne pour l'etude de l'education des adultes. 8th Conference, Cornwall, Ontario, June 1-30. Ed. Rene Bedard. Guelph, Ont.: Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education. 272-276.

PLA is a system based on an ideology that influences a methodology allowing adults to identify learning acquired outside traditional schools and enabling academic institutions to properly assess that learning.

Sansregret, Marthe. (1987) A Rationale for Assessing Adults' Prior Learning. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED284988.

19 pages. Document Type: review literature. A rationale for the recognition of prior learning is first based on the fact that learning experientially may be as necessary as learning through theory. One basis for the rationale is that adults in everyday life may have to acquire skills that belong to three domains: psychomotor, cognitive, and affective. Furthermore, the rationale supports the fact that recognizing adults' prior learning would enable adults to get a diploma that could bring opportunities for employment, promotion, and training. Adults would also be in a better position to give new directions to their lives. Academic institutions see for themselves the benefits in recognizing adults' prior learning. Institutions could maintain their role of assessors and guarantee the reliability and validity of assessment. By positioning people where they can maximize their potential, academic institutions make an important economic contribution through making a better use of monies available for education. Faculty are challenged and gain a renewed prestige when they become intellectual leaders and political and cultural consultants. This rationale is subject to the proper implementation of a program that includes students' careful preparation, done with the assistance of a counselor, and students' assessment, carried out by experts using the proper method. Descriptors: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Experiential Learning; Informal Assessment; Lifelong Learning; Portfolios (Background Materials); Student Evaluation.

Tate, Pamela J. (March 1983) "Measuring Learning from Life and Work Experience." New Directions for Testing and Measurement (Measurement, Technology, and Individuality in Education: Proceedings of the 1982 ETS Invitational Conference) 17, 55-67.

Document Type: journal article; project description. Assessment of experiential learning must be approached in a different way from assessment of learning acquired through the traditional information assimilation mode. New measurement techniques and program models need to be devised to save money and faculty time, while preserving individualization. Descriptors: Adults; Cost Effectiveness; Evaluation Needs; Experiential Learning; Measurement Techniques; Models; Self Evaluation (Individuals); Time on Task.

Thomas, Alan (1998). Prior Learning Assessment in Universities in Ontario: An Aide-Memoire. Toronto: Council of Ontario Universities

A discussion paper advocating the importance of the universities in Ontario developing individual policies for the implementation of Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition. The paper points to development among universities elsewhere; the changing population of potential students with emphasis on age and diverse prior experience; and the value of reasserting concrete attention to learning as distinct from teaching in the culture of the university. 

Thomas, Alan M. (1998) "The Tolerable Contradictions of Prior Learning Assessment." In Learning for Life: Canadian Readings in Adult Education. Eds. Sue M. Scott, Bruce Spencer, and Alan M. Thomas. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, 330-342.

This exposition analyzes the internal dynamics of formal education. Evaluation within the system is designed expressly to predict the likelihood of future success within the system. Its use for predicting occupational success outside the system, however widespread, and now reaching into adult life, is a serious mismatch and contradiction. PLA is an evaluation of learning outcomes acquired by means other than formal instruction, that is, from the environment in which formal accreditation is fundamentally misapplied. Clashes and misunderstandings common to the latter will now appear in the use of the former (PLA) within the formal system. On examination of those clashes, probably, both systems will benefit.

Thomas, Alan M. (Spring 1994) "Comment on 'The Promise of Experiential Learning and Challenges to its Integrity By Prior Learning Assessment' [By Geoffrey Peruniak]." Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education 20(1), 63-66.

ISSN: 0318-9090. Descriptors: Experiential learning; Evaluation; Prior learning; Apprentissage par l'experience; Connaissances acquises.

Thomas, Alan M., and Roslyn Klaiman. (Spring 1992) "The Utilization of Prior Learning Assessment in Canada." Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education 18(1), 7-26.

An introduction to the use of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) in the USA, the UK, and Sweden is followed by a report of the first national study of its utilization in Canada, at all education levels, in the late 1980s. Findings reflect a surprisingly wide-spread use, on an equally widely decentralized basis. However, usage is highly discretionary in terms of faculties, programs, and individual faculty members. Most important, perhaps, is that with the exception of the province of Quebec, at the college level, and British Columbia throughout the educational system, students have no rights to such assessment. Implications of the increase in use of the procedures are discussed from the following points of view: the opportunities for increased flexibility for learners to move in and out of formal education; the increased efficiency in the utilization of teaching resources; the skills and practices required; and the potential of PLA for reforming formal education. Recommendations are explored for the effective further development of PLA. Descriptors: Evaluation practices; Post-secondary education; Surveys; Continuing education; Pratique d'evaluation; Enseignement postsecondaire; Enquete; Education permanente. Identifiers: Post-secondary level; Niveau postsecondaire.

Thomas, Alan, and Rosalyn Klaiman. (1989) An evaluation of the Ontario "Equivalent Standing for Mature Students" Policy. Toronto: OISE/UT

33 pages. The "Equivalent Standing for Mature Students", a somewhat primitive version of PLA, was introduced into Secondary Education in Ontario in 1974. It was designed to take account of informal learning by means of assigning credits for years out of school. In fifteen years it had grown slowly but steadily, with the "life-experience" category being most utilized. The bulk of participants were between the ages of 25 and 45, with women outnumbering men by three to one, both in entering and completing programs. Despite the limited availability of "mature admission" opportunities at some Ontario universities, all applicants displayed a determination to complete secondary school. Despite the growth in use the program was impeded by variance in practice among School Boards, and the lack of training of assessors. By the late nineteen eighties the formulaic equating of time out of school with credits granted was giving way to more through assessment of learning accomplished during those years. Recommendations included further development of the program based on widespread support among applicants and school staff; more consistency across the province in the implementation of the program, and increased leadership and support for training by the Ministry of Education.

Thomson, Peter. (1993) "Current Research Issues in Competency-Based Assessment." In Selected and Edited Papers Presented at the National TAFE Senior Executives' Conference, Kooralbyn, Australia, October 7-8, 1993. Leabrook, Austral.: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

This paper addresses the relationship between competency-based assessment (CBA) and learning and assessors, assessor training, and recognition of prior learning. ISBN: 0-86397-342-6. Collection totals 128 pages. Document Type: conference proceedings; position paper; project description.

Trowler, Paul. (March 1996) "Angels in Marble? Accrediting Prior Experiential Learning in Higher Education." Studies in Higher Education 21(1), 17-30.

Document Type: evaluative report; position paper; journal article. A discussion of the awarding of college credit for experiential or prior learning looks at two approaches (credit exchange and developmental), proposes a continuum linking them, and examines theoretical and practical problems in their application in higher education. It is concluded that while credits for prior/experiential learning can be beneficial to students, much work on the process is needed. Descriptors: College Credits; Educational Policy; Equivalency Tests; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Policy Formation; Prior Learning; Student Evaluation. Identifiers: Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning. ISSN: 0307-5079.

Usher, R. (1989) "Qualifications, Paradigms, and Experiential Learning." Access and Institutional Change. Ed. O. Fulton. Milton Keynes, UK: Society for Research in Higher Education/Open University.

Usher, Robin S. (1986) "Reflection and Prior Work Experience: Some Problematic Issues in Relation to Adult Students in University Studies." Studies in Higher Education 11(3), 245-56.

Document Type: journal article; position paper; evaluative report. Use of adult undergraduate students' work experience in recruitment, admission, and curriculum design is examined, and it is suggested that institutions must shift the emphasis in admissions from the quantity of prior experience to the quality of learning resulting from it, and organize curricula around that learning. Descriptors: Adult Students; College Admission; College Curriculum; Curriculum Development; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Relevance (Education); Work Experience.

Weil, S.W., and I. McGill, eds. (1989) Making Sense of Experiential Learning: Diversity in Theory and Practice. Milton Keynes, UK: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.

Whitaker, Urban. (1989) Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles, and Procedures. Philadelphia: CAEL.

See abstract under 2.6.3 (Implementation of PLAR in Formal Education/Methods of Assessment/General-Other).

Wildemeersch, Danny, and Theo Jansen, eds. (1992) Adult Education, Experiential Learning and Social Change: The Postmodern Challenge. The Hague: Uitgeverij BV. [184 pages.]

Withowski, Edward. (March 1983) "The Individual and Social Benefits of Experiential Learning Assessment." New Directions for Experiential Learning (Cost-Effective Assessment of Prior Learning) 19, 99-109.

Document Type: journal article; position paper. Higher education is seen as an investment in human capital that generates benefits to individuals and to society. Assessment of prior learning constitutes a sound individual and public investment because it lowers costs and adds value to experience. Descriptors (major): Credits; Educational Benefits; Experiential Learning; Prior Learning; (minor): Costs; Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; Quality of Life; Role Models; Student Motivation.

Zakos, Paul. (March 1996) The Role of Portfolio-Assisted PLA in the Development of Healthy Communities. Deseronto, Ont.: First Nations Technical Institute. [17 pages]

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