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Prior Learning Portfolios What is Involved?

Prior Learning Portfolios What is Involved?

If you have decided to apply for credit for prior learning you have accomplished outside of formal educational institutions, then you need to formally request a prior learning assessment. Many colleges and universities require you to submit a prior learning portfolio which they can use to assess your prior learning.

This portfolio is a comprehensive collection of the materials which you assemble to support your claim of prior learning you have acquired. Before you begin to create the portfolio, you will need to contact your school to find out how to go about applying for the portfolio assessment. Each school has its own conditions which must be followed. Usually you need to be enrolled in a program; often you will have to have completed a certain number of courses; often you are assigned an advisor or mentor; you may have to take a portfolio course during which you learn how to make a portfolio and sometimes actually complete it while in the course. Once you pay the fees, you are usually given a certain amount of time to complete your portfolio.

Portfolios need to be organized in a particular way. They usually consist of a three ring binder with tabbed sections. There are certain sections that your school will require you to include and other sections that are fairly standard in almost all prior learning portfolios. Here is a list of the standard pages to be included in most portfolios.

Working with a mentor or taking a workshop will definitely help you to prepare all these sections of your portfolio. Once your portfolio has been submitted it generally takes 3 to 4 months for the school to complete the review. It can be even longer if they ask for more information. Creating a Prior Learning Portfolio is an important and time consuming task which has long term benefits for you whether or not you gain the credits you are hoping to earn. The work you have put into it has already helped you to assess the knowledge and skills that you already possess and thereby helped you in your future planning. It is now a professional document that you can modify and use over time in your career development.

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