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Athabasca University

What is Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process designed to award you credit towards your degree or certificate at Athabasca University and to open other doors to advancement.

PLAR is based on a tested process and set of mechanisms for the recognition of learning that you have acquired from life experience, job training, workshops, seminars or other experience.

Some of the elements involved in PLAR include the following:

  • Demonstrating knowledge or informed data related to a program.
  • Knowing and being able to apply theories and concepts used in that program.
  • Capacity to analyze using data, theories, and concepts.
  • Communication style in transmitting the above with clarity, conciseness, and precision.
  • Knowing how to synthesize disparate, parallel, or common materials and/or practices.
  • Showing openness to debate, discussion, dispute, or proof.
  • Sometimes showing how data or ideas may be ordered, scaled, prioritized, or categorized.

View the PLAR pamphlet for a description of the process (PDF - 580KB).

If you are interested in understanding more about PLAR's role as a social learning tool, please read Defining Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (DOC - 39 KB).

See “What PLAR is not” for an understanding of conditions for which you may not gain PLAR credit.

Updated January 30 2015 by Student & Academic Services

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.