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Range of Life Experience Valued at Loyalist College

April 29, 2010

Knowledge and skills can be acquired through both formal study and life experience. Loyalist College acknowledges this through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) program — a process involving identification, documentation, assessment and recognition. Areas of evaluation may include work and life experience, formal or informal education and training, independent study, volunteering, travel, hobbies, and family experience. It is important that this accumulated learning be evaluated for credit by educational institutions and in the workplace for hiring and promotion. At Loyalist the PLAR process ensures that adults avoid repeating the learning they have already mastered in order to avoid inefficiency and unnecessary costs.

Wendy Mather accessed the value of her previous university credits through the PLAR program. This allowed her to accelerate the completion of a diploma. “Through Loyalist’s Portfolio Development course I realized that the most important and meaningful consideration in returning to school was that my prior learning was recognized and respected. This was exactly what I needed and I felt my learning needs were being addressed.

“I successfully completed the course with a renewed enthusiasm to pursue my education. I enrolled in the accelerated option of the Social Service Worker program at Loyalist in January 2009. I am motivated to continue to learn with the goal of achieving a Masters of Adult Education. The PLAR process changed my life. I am grateful for such a comprehensive and varied introduction to adult education.”

Gary Romain, a third-year Business Administration – Materials Management student, also praised the PLAR program. “I had quite a bit of work experience and wondered if that could be applied toward my courses in Business Administration. Based upon my resume, and an extensive interview, I received prior-learning credit. I am grateful for the help the staff and faculty gave me. I’m now learning new skills and increasing my employment opportunities.”

Social Service Worker Professor Mark Gallupe has been actively involved in Loyalist’s PLAR program for many years. “The benefits that an individual gains from PLAR are dependent upon what each individual is in search of. For some it is their portfolio development, for others it is education and career planning, recognition and credit for life and work experiences related to specific courses, or simply raising a person’s awareness of their strengths and skills — which helps build self confidence.

“At Loyalist we’ve helped people from across Canada, South Africa and Chile create portfolios. Of the hundreds and hundreds we have assisted, I have not met a single person who has not benefited from developing their personal portfolio.”

For more information about Loyalist’s PLAR program contact Sandy Novroski, PLAR Advisor at (613) 969-1913, ext. 2373 or Mark Gallupe at (613) 969-1913, ext. 2347.