Topic 2 – PLAR’s Historical Context

PLAR has developed for different reasons across countries and this has given rise to different policy positions. Sometimes PLAR is part of a nation-wide lifelong learning agenda; sometimes it is the result of specific legislation or a demand for┬álabour. In Norway for example, PLAR is seen by government as a way to attract adults back to the education system in order to increase the general level of citizens’ education and upgrade adults’ skill levels.

Learning Outcomes:

Explain how and why the historical context that gave rise to policies on PLAR in two countries are similar or different.

Learning Activities:

The assigned reading summarizes the development of PLAR in eight countries. Select two of these countries and write a two-page description of their PLAR systems, and why they developed differently.

Self-Assessment Items:

  • Review your written work. How clearly does it describe the two systems and their differences?
  • Did you select important features of the two systems?
  • Did you clearly show how their historical contexts affected the development of the two systems differently?



Morrissey, M., Myers, D. [eds.] (2008). Achieving our potential: An action plan for PLAR in Canada, pp. 334-391. Halifax, NS: Prior learning Centre.

Additional Resources:

Heyns, R. (2004) Recognition of prior learning: In search of a valid and sustainable mechanism for South Africa, Master’s thesis. University of Pretoria, SA. p. 38.

Wihak, C. (2005). State of the field review: Prior learning assessment and recognition. Calgary, AB: University of Calgary. pp. 8-29.


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