Topic 5 – PLAR Processes

Typically, PLAR processes will have similar broad phases, although each organization or institution involved in PLAR may approach how it implements these phases in a different way. The first phase is pre-assessment, in which the individual determines if she or he is likely to be successful with a PLAR petition. The second phase is preparation, in which the PLAR candidate gets ready for the assessment, whether it be a challenge exam, a portfolio demonstrating learning achievement, an interview and/or a demonstration of a skill. The third phase is the actual assessment, while the final phase is usually the issuing of some form of formal documentation to recognize the assessed learning. Each of these four broad phases may have sub-steps or variations, depending on the organization, the type of learning being assessed.

One way of understanding a PLAR process is to draw a flow chart. See the readings for examples of PLAR flowcharts for post-secondary institutions.

Learning Outcomes:

Describe a PLAR process using a flow chart.

Learning Activities:

Draw a flow chart for a PLAR process for the scenario you described for Topic 4. Note on the chart who would be involved at each step of the process and what their roles would be.

Self-Assessment Items:

Reflect on the following:

  • Do you have a clear sense of the important steps for a PLAR process? Does the flowchart include these?
  • Do you need to do some things differently from the topics you reviewed in the readings to make sure the process is appropriate to the context?
  • What kinds of preparation is required to establish this PLAR process?



Amichand, S., Ireland, M., Orynik, K., Potter, J., & Van Kleef, J. (2007). Quality assurance in PLAR: A guide for institutions. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Council on Learning. p. 16.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications. (2005). Guidelines for the recognition of prior informal learning. p. 17.

NAIT PLAR Guidelines p. 1.

NAIT PLAR Flow Chart.


Additional Resources:

PLAR Flow chart for Durham College. Page 3.

Example of RPL processes – SAQA.  pp. 6.

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