News

Dr. Alan Davis speaks out about PLAR

Posted in Research

I’m delighted to draw your attention to a recent blog posting by Dr. Alan Davis, President and Vice Chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Keynote Speaker, Summit 2013: Surging to the Future: Research-informed policy, practice and innovation in the Recognition of Prior Learning.

In his post, Dr Davis eloquently outlines the increasing necessity for community-minded post secondary institutions, including KPU, to recognize and respect the skills and knowledge adult students have acquired through the workplace and community life and to incorporate this learning into a broader vision of post secondary education.

Here is a brief excerpt:

“…But if I called the blog “PLAR”, some would gloss over it, some would be put off by the jargon, and we too often pigeon-hole parts of our operation for administrative convenience so we don’t have to worry about everything all the time. It’s all about learning in the end.

PLAR has a bad rap. Some see it as flaky, some as a threat to faculty work and academic control, some institutions do not do much of it, and KPU is behind many. So, here is my pitch, having seen again what people are doing across North America, and how powerful this can be.

Learning starts the moment you are born (some say before that), and continues until the final revelation at the moment of death (there is a revelation, isn’t there?). Then there is the learning acquired in school and beyond, which, in many parts of the developed world, lasts anywhere from a few years to (in my case) 27 years before I got a full time job. This is­ our formal learning, which is always documented, and is easily transportable and recognized; although those with foreign credentials coming to Canada might disagree.

Pretty well the rest of our learning throughout our lives is informal, almost always not documented and rarely recognised, but where would you be without it?

You wouldn’t have a job, for one thing. Almost all hiring involves assessing who you are in terms of both your formal and informal learning. Think about it. We sort resumes into those who have the stated formal credential and those who don’t. For those who do, we started looking at experiences, knowledge, skills and attributes that are developed informally. i.e., we do a lot of subjective assessment of informal learning as we make very large dollar decisions.”

Click here to read the full blog post.

Wendy Watson
President, BCPLAN