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Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition


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.

How students benefit

  • 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 

How faculty and staff, and UFV benefit

  • increases student recruitment and retention
  • supports appropriate student placement into programs
  • provides an important service for business, community and industry

First steps with a student

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. Students can create learning statements and identify potential evidence of their skills, knowledge and abilities in relation to specific courses. They can send this document to you or bring it to a meeting where you can have a short discussion with the student about their background as well as their knowledge and understanding of the course. Once you confirm their eligibility you can discuss your expectations regarding the level of learning they need to demonstrate to successfully challenge your course.  Learn more about the PLAR process at UFV.

Minimal time to assess prior learning

PLAR doesn't have to take very much time.  Departments can develop PLAR instruments that 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.  

Referring students

Please direct students to this website or have them contact

Institutional support for PLAR

Please use this website to access resources, explain PLAR fundamentals and provide information on PLAR methods. In addition, you can use PLAR samples and templates. 

PLAR credit and UFV 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 academically sound and transparent process.

How to get paid as a PLAR faculty assessor

Once you have submitted a grade for your PLAR, remuneration is issued 4 times a year in the following month after the semester has ended. 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. For more information on remuneration, please reference your collective agreement, article 22.15 on page 96 or email us at