Authors: Dianne Conrad
Open and distance educational institutions share a commitment to principles of access and flexibility which, in turn, reflect a set of foundational beliefs that shape learning activity. Housed within this broad mandate is an explicit recognition of the presence and value of mature learners’ prior learning. This document describes and situates prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) as a knowledge-building process within an online post-secondary learning culture. In doing so, it briefly reviews the history and context of PLAR; discusses the pedagogy of portfolio construction; outlines PLAR’s operational functionality; and considers the potential of the e-portfolio as a learning tool. Athabasca University’s use of PLAR in an open and distance university setting serves as context.