Faculty and Staff Frequently Asked Questions

What is PLAR?
What are the benefits of PLAR for students, for faculty and staff, and for UFV?
What needs to be done when a student first approaches me about PLAR?
How much time does it take to assess prior learning?

Where can I refer students to get more information about PLAR?
What type of support is available for PLAR at an institutional level?
Will PLAR credit compromise departmental or institutional standards? 
How do I get paid for my work as a PLAR faculty assessor?


What is PLAR?

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition), is an academically sound and transparent process that can be used to assess experiential learning for academic credit.

PLAR is a pillar component of UFV's educational philosophy of providing "Access to Success." Contributing significantly to UFV's recruitment and retention strategies, PLAR promotes University access to individuals who have developed University-level learning. This is achieved by assisting faculty in identifying potential candidates, assisting candidates in building their application, and assisting candidates and faculty through the process from start to finish.

PLAR does not seek to assist students in 'skipping over' material, on the contrary, our task is to assist students to determine whether they have a strong case for assessment (e.g. based on real workplace learning measured against actual course/program learning outcomes) as opposed to an assumption that they qualify based on time served in the workplace. It is ultimately up to you, the faculty, to assess candidates experiential learning.

What are the benefits of PLAR for students, for faculty and staff, and for UFV?

Benefits for students:  

  • eliminates duplication of learning
  • creates open access to post secondary study
  • validates learning gained through work and life experiences
  • assists with career development
  • identifies program areas requiring further study
  • increases self esteem and self confidence 

Benefits for Faculty, Staff and UFV

  • increases student recruitment and retention
  • supports appropriate student placement into programs
  • provides an important service for business, community and industry
  • addresses the needs of Canada's aging population

What needs to be done when a student first approaches me about PLAR?

The first step is determining the student's eligibility to PLAR your course. If the student hasn't already done so you can direct them to the learning outcomes  of your course online or to the course outline you use in your class. Having a short discussion with the student about their background as well as their knowledge and understanding of the course can often tell you whether a student has the potential to be successful in challenging your course. Once you confirm their eligibility you can discuss your expections regarding the level of learning they need to demonstrate to successfully challenge your course.

To learn more about the PLAR process at UFV click here .

How much time does it take to assess prior learning?

PLAR doesn't have to take very much time.  Departments can develop PLAR instruments which could be reused.  If a department or faculty decides that a portfolio could best reflect their learning outcomes it still doesn't have to take a lot of time.  Portfolios are often completed in three to four months. This website has many resources, samples and templates that students can be directed to.   


Where can I refer students to get more information about PLAR?

Please direct students to this website or have them contact plar@ufv.ca  

What type of support is available for PLAR at an institutional level?

Please use this website to access resources that explain PLAR fundamentals and provide information on the types of PLAR methods in addition to PLAR samples and templates you can use or you can have PLAR candidates use.

UFV also has a PLAR Coordinator , who can liaise with you and your department to develop PLAR policies.  

Will PLAR credit compromise departmental or institutional standards?

When done well, PLAR adds to the academic reputation of both departments and faculties. Recognition of prior learning at UFV is done in an acadmemically sound and transparent process.

How do I get paid for my work as a PLAR faculty assessor?

Once you have submitted a grade for your PLAR assessment Assessment Services will process your remuneration.

Faculty can be paid individually or departments can decide that some or all PLAR remuneration be put into a PLAR department fund to be used at the discretion of the department.

Creating a portfolio helped me to better understand myself, my frame of reference as well as further my career.

  • – Dorothy
  •    Child and Youth Care
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