Offering Credit for Prior Learning Assessment Webcast Recording



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Many institutions have adopted prior learning assessment (PLA) as a way to retain and graduate more students. Through PLA, students gain college-level credit for knowledge and skills learned from nontraditional sources such as work and life experiences. The challenge for institutions is assessing students’ mastery of a subject and determining how to award credit on a consistent basis.

Join us to learn how your institutions can offer credit for prior learning assessment. During this online training we’ll address the following:

  • Sources of prior learning assessment
  • Faculty perception, awareness, and resistance
  • PLA credit review and approval process
  • Balancing PLA credit toward elective vs. major requirements

Who Should Attend

This webcast will appeal particularly to administrators and faculty responsible for developing or overseeing a PLA program, as well as academic advisors or program leaders who work directly with students. This is a great opportunity for you to gather administrators from many academic programs across departments to gain a shared understanding of awarding credits for PLA.

Learning Outcome

After participating in this online training, you will be able to understand and apply PLA credits to academic programs.


  • Defining PLA
  • Sources of PLA
    • Standardized testing
    • Open educational resources (OER)
    • Work-related experiences/training
    • Life experiences
  • Appropriate credit award based on institutional context
  • Credit awarded for learning from experience
    • Waive course prerequisites
    • Meet general education requirements
    • Used to meet program/major requirements
    • Used to fulfill elective requirements
  • Ensuring PLA credit integrity and originality
  • How to assess and make credit recommendations
  • Monitoring and evaluating PLA programs
  • How PLA credit can be used to obtain advanced standing at the institution


Dr. Richard Irwin, Interim Vice Provost, Academic Innovation & Support Services, University of Memphis

Dr. Irwin was recently appointed to his current position after serving as associate dean for University College since 2010. In his previous capacity Dr. Irwin was responsible for reinvigorating a number of prior learning assessment (PLA) functions—most notably the college’s experiential learning credit program. As interim vice provost, one of Dr. Irwin’s major responsibilities is to oversee the Center for Innovative in Teaching and Learning which provides support for faculty and students on experiential and prior learning.

In 2011, he was awarded a three-year Access and Diversity Grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to support the program redesign of the institution’s prior learning assessment program targeting returning adult students. Dr. Irwin was also appointed to represent the University on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s prior learning assessment task force, a statewide initiative to enhance PLA usage across Tennessee’s higher education systems. He also chaired the university’s competency-based education task force.

Tracy Robinson, Director of Online Education, University of Memphis

Tracy currently serves as the academic advisor for University College students in online degree programs and coordinates all prior learning assessment initiatives including portfolio assessments for undergraduate and graduate students. She also directs the Finish Line program which assists students who earned 90 or more credit hours yet left the university before earning their degree. Most recently, she served on a competency-based task force that increased the equivalencies of CLEP and DSST exams by 40% and developed a plan to launch a competency-based degree program in organizational leadership.

Tracy was selected as the alumni association’s distinguished advisor in 2010 and has served on the provost’s advisory council on academic advising since 2007. She has delivered advising presentations at the National Conference on Students in Transition, annual conference for the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and regional and national conferences of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).


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