PLAR: the shift to an “asset-based” approach to learning 2

Just back from Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) annual workshop in Toronto, Canada. In many ways, it is a meeting of educational change makers, and well I love change making.

Should it really be so far fetched to imagine that one day soon, a potential student pondering about applying to a post-secondary program is invited directly on the institution’s web site, not hidden, but right up front, “Thinking of coming to our college? Have related life experience and learning? Click here to complete your self-assessment.” A simple direct process allowing individuals to be exempted from parts of the program based on their diverse and rich life-work-education experience. It still astounds me that we are not there yet.

I would dare to take that dream one step further though (why not?). The actual record (or portfolio) of learning built for such a process of recognising prior learning should not be a snapshot in time but rather continue to grow and evolve, becoming a living document supporting lifelong learning – minimally till the completion of the education program. Basic common sense, no?

To advance such dreams, we need to bridge the e-portfolio community and the prior learning community – and that is slowly taking place. This event is testimony to just that. It is all part of the larger shift towards “asset-based” social policies focusing more on personal assets than personal deficits, helping people recognise their own capabilities, thereby contributing to increased confidence and all round well being.

Methodologies and tools:

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