Where did you first learn about Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)?
I learned about PLAR from professors at Douglas College.
How did PLAR benefit you?
The Douglas College PLAR process was a surprisingly robust way of entering scholarship. It also served as a humbling reminder of what assumptions that my contemporaries and I brought to the work. I was able to start bringing in new ways of thinking or seeing organizational problems. My writing and confidence with accessing research improved and I started to enjoy learning opportunities more. I eventually graduated and enrolled in a Masters Program, which has been fantastic. Career wise, I was able to advance to a deeper and complex role. Much of my PLAR experience translates into a more flexible approach to how I value knowledge, potential and practice.
As a community leader, The PLAR practice clearly benefited my approach to governance, mentorship and community problem-solving. This in part from the course content but also from the philosophical approach to knowledge. I found the instructors treated PLAR students with a good balance of coaching, equity, and grit. I also learned an appreciation for the administrative side of learning, whereas in my youth that just used to bother me. In the PLAR program, I saw the faculty had a good balance of using scaffolding of the academic learning environment and how that could be a positive force in my trajectory rather than an oppressive teaching force. The faculty would often work to find solutions that would benefit me as the learner, them as faculty, the community at large, and the education system.
What advice would you give to other PLAR candidates?
You can do it. I will not lie to you, PLAR is terrifying at first. You will find every reason to procrastinate or challenge the process and that is part of the beauty of the process. It was a daunting to return to being in a classroom as a mature student, but I quickly found the place welcoming and the investment of my time and energy started to feel very useful. I found I made some great connections through the Alumni network. The benefits are not just some credits toward a credential, it is a new way of learning in your life.
As for the process, find some faculty that you can trust and they will really help you succeed. Their ability to gauge where you are at with the logistical tools, like course codes and essay writing will help you take the right steps in your learning. It can be scary to think how it could be intimidating to present information you know but that is part of the learning. Career wise, it will be exhausting, but it will open new doors for you!