How to organize an academic PLAR portfolio
Table of contents
Autobiography or chronological life history
The first page of your portfolio should have the title of your portfolio at the top. The title is the first step in framing your portfolio. The cover page also includes pertinent personal information including a Candidate’s name, contact information and student number. Those candidates who are artistic are welcome to create a title page (in addition to a cover page) of a picture/diagram with or without colour, that they feel best represents what is inside the portfolio and place it on the front cover or side of their portfolio.
The table of contents is usually completed after the bulk of the portfolio is done. The assessor must be able to see the organization of the portfolio prior to reading it. Every section must be documented so the assessor knows at first glance what is included and where it is.
3. A page outlining your per course
The credit request page also includes your name and indicates which faculty you are pursuing PLAR as well as a list of all the courses included in your PLAR.
4. RESUME (Link)
The resume outlines you education and employment history in relation to your skills and knowledge. Some candidates may choose to create a detailed resume that is structured around how their background and employment history relates to the courses they are pursuing for PLAR credit. Other candidate may choose their resume organization to reflect employment only. Whatever the structure is, you can utilize resources within UCFV including Career Services and the Library to help you construct your resume.
5. An AUTOBIOGRAPHY of you personal and professional experiences OR a CHRONOLOGICAL life history
Your autobiography will be 1-3 pages in length and will detail major life experiences relating to personal and professional development. It is used to frame the learning outcomes and evidence in your portfolio
Chronological Life History (Link)
One to two sentences detailing significant personal and/or professional events for every year after 19 or when you graduated high school.
6. A statement called a GOALS PAPER (Link)
A statement up to 1 page in length that describes your personal, career, and educational goals
7. Prior Learning reflected in Portfolio PLAR
A copy of the most recent learning outcomes must be in front of the learning statements that detail the evidence of meeting the learning outcomes of academic courses.
Some UCFV programs do not require learning statements within their portfolio requirements. Please confirm your PLAR requirements with your program advisor and faculty assessor prior to creating learning statements.
A candidate’s focus must always be on what they learned during their life long/life wide experiences. Academic credit will not be awarded based on the fact that you have done (experienced) something. For example, while you will not receive academic credit for being the owner and operator of a licensed daycare for 10 years, you may receive academic credit from detailing and documenting what you learned during that experience.
The structure of your learning statements can vary depending on the style and organization of your portfolio.
for Learning Statements
- On average candidates write 1-2 pages per learning outcome
- State the learning outcome
- Write a statement outlining, in detail, where and how you acquired the knowledge and skills specified in the learning outcome
- It must be a reflective statement (Link)
- Reference the documents which verify your learning
Table or Chart (Link)
Create professional tables or charts that consistently display the following information:
- Write the learning outcome(s) in one section of the table/chart
- Create a learning statement that matches a learning outcome
- Details examples of prior learning within the learning statement that represents equivalent learning to learning outcomes which would be achieved if a student enrolled in the course
- The position you held when you learned the skills and knowledge within the learning statements of specific learning outcomes
- Indicate where in the portfolio you will find the evidence documenting the information in
Combination Narrative and Table formats
Candidates may need to provide more description to completely provide evidence of meeting learning outcomes of courses. If there are more instances of learning outcomes requiring narratives than tables/charts or vice versa candidates have the option of creating a hybrid PLAR utilizing both narratives and tables/charts.
8. DOCUMENTATION DESCRIPTION (Link)
List the documents that substantiate the learning statements of each course objective/learning outcome
9. DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE (Link)
The compilation of evidence is often the last section of a PLAR portfolio because candidates usually use documentation as evidence of meeting course learning outcomes of more than one course. PLAR candidates should take care to provide relevant and current documentation to create a more effective portfolio.
Direct documentation (Link) refers to documentation that the learner has written, designed, produced, manufactured or performed. Examples of direct documentation/evidence include but are not limited to:
- reports, proposals, or articles written by the learner
- brochures, chats or posters created by the learner
- a presentation given by the learner – you could provide a DVD or print copy of the presentation
- software programs, blueprints, electronic circuits you have designed
- any projects created by the learner which relate to the learning outcomes
Indirect documentation (Link) refers to documentation that you were not responsible for creating. The documentation clearly and specifically relates to learning outcomes required by courses you want to PLAR. Examples of indirect documentation can include:
- job descriptions with competencies verified by employer/supervisor by means of a performance appraisal
- letter of verification/attestation from your immediate supervisor/manager that details how long they have supervised you, why the are qualified to assess you and their evaluation of your performance, skills and abilities
- transcripts or certificates for training achieved (if they are not eligible for direct transfer credit), supported by learning outcomes for such training
- professional licenses and/or memberships in professional or trade organizations which include performance standards
- awards, newspapers or magazine clippings that specifically mention you
Ineffective or weak documentation, which should be avoided, can include:
- references documenting personal attributes which are not reflective of the learning outcomes – for example, “Jane Doe is friendly and well-mannered" is not useful documentation for a course in word processing
- job evaluations that are not specific about what you actually did or what skills you exhibited – even if they recount that you are a “superb employee”
- information about events in which you claim to have participated, but which do not mention you directly and/or do not specify learning outcomes
- any documentation which cannot be verified