Introduction to PLAR

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) is an innovative process used all over the world to make the vast quantities of learning acquired outside of formal educational institutions more visible. PLAR has the potential to offer great benefits to learners, employers and government alike — economic benefits, educational benefits, and personal benefits. This will introduce you to some of the most important concepts about PLAR in an international context.


Here is what you will learn from completing this course:

  • Define PLAR and its different purposes
  • Explain how and why the historical context that gave rise to policies on PLAR in two countries are similar to or different
  • Identify different names and acronyms used for PLAR in different parts of the world
  • Describe how PLAR benefits different stakeholders
  • Describe a typical PLAR process
  • Identify five methods of PLAR and explain their strengths and limitations
  • ¬†Discuss possible barriers to successful implementation of PLAR and how they might be overcome
  • Describe useful sources of information on Quality Assurance for PLAR
  • Describe three theories underlying PLAR


This course is designed for self-study, with 9 major discussion topics and assignments:

  1. Definitions and Purposes
  2. PLAR’s Historical Context
  3. Names and Acronyms
  4. PLAR  Benefits
  5. PLAR Processes
  6. PLAR’s Strengths and Weaknesses
  7. Barriers to PLAR
  8. Quality Assurance in PLAR
  9. Theories Underlying PLAR


For each major topic, we have provided links to core resources (written and audio-visual) that are all available for free download. We have also indicated optional resources that you may need to access through a library. The core resources form the basis of 9 self-study assignments that will help you learn the material and relate it to your own experience. You’ll also be able to compare your own responses to other people who are taking or have taken the course.

To complete the assignments, just post your responses as comments on the respective discussion pages. The different discussion topics are available in the “Discussion Assignment Topics” drop down menu above.

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