In her final PLA Reflection Essay, Jennifer shared that writing for PLA credits was a rigorous process that she found difficult, thought-provoking, and entirely rewarding. She also commented,
The successful PLA student must be able to objectively reflect upon her life experiences, and must be able to commit to the Prior Learning Assessment process. Being a successful PLA student myself, I feel part of an elite group of uncommon individuals. I know that this is an experience that I will reflect upon for the rest of my life.
In this video Jennifer shares her experience in the PLA program – the challenges, the benefits, and also some great tips for current or future PLA participants.
Congratulations to Jodie Johnson, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Religious Studies and Human Studies, who recently completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. Jodie earned 33 credits based on knowledge she gained through both her professional and personal experiences! She wrote nine PLA essays on the following topics:
Real Estate Practices
Solving Communication Problems with Technology
Persuasion, Argumentation, Debate
In Jodie’s Final Reflection Statement she wrote:
After writing seven essays and against the recommendation of my instructors, I decided to take a term off from PLA. I was so excited to delve into my core classes and obtain new learning. Ultimately it did not do me any favors when I went to finish up the last two essays…My eighth essay was an incredible struggle…I had to relearn the structure of Prior Learning…I should have kept on the motivated wave of writing and finished. It is the greatest lesson I can pass along to all those interested in moving ahead in their college career with PLA.
Velda Metelmann recently completed her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in English Literature & Writing and Human Studies, and is now in a graduate program to earn her Masters! Congratulations, Velda!
Readings and Special Project in the Teachings of Abd’ul-Bahá
In her Final Reflection Essay, Velda talked about how writing for PLA credits increased her confidence in her writing skills, so that now a 6-8 page term paper seems like an easy task after working on a 20-25 page PLA essay. She also commented that, “My love of writing has been increased as well as my skill in the art, and I look forward to my next terms with excitement.”
In this video Velda shares her experience in the PLA program – her enthusiasm for life-long learning is infectious!
Greg used his personal experiences as well as those from his professional life as a high school teacher and athletic coach to demonstrate his college-level competency for these courses:
Small Group Communication
Planning & Facilitating Difficult Group Discussions
Communication of Self-Esteem
Poverty and Schooling
In his Final Reflection Essay, Greg wrote, in part, “I learned how to analyze and evaluate theoretical texts from scholarly sources and to apply this material to my own life experience. Organizing my essays produced a continuum, and with the completion of each paper the method became smoother.”
Victoria Hurlock recently completed her PLA Portfolio with 27 credits. Victoria’s major is Communication, and the topics she wrote for were:
CCM 321 Small Group Communication
CCM 323 Effective Listening
CCM 325 Communication of Self-Esteem
CCM 337 Gender and Communication
CCM 346 Conflict Management
COL 340 Organizational Communication
COL 426 Team Building
MSD 130 Creative Problem-Solving
RE 100 Introduction to Real Estate
Here is what she has to say about it all:
From the very beginning, the PLA process helped me to see how much I had learned and applied during my 20 year career. The detailed evaluative process in LRN 150 affirmed my ability to apply college level concepts in my everyday life. I was surprised to see how many credits I could have written for based on my prior training, experience, and education. I opted to write for only 27 credits.
The process itself was challenging in the beginning, but once I established a rhythm and process to follow, it became easier. It was an enriching experience and I learned a much more about each topic as I wrote each paper.
For anyone considering it, don’t let a 25-30 page paper intimidate you. There are many resources available and the staff is amazing to work with. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to complete the PLA process at Marylhurst. I would not have had as rich of an experience without it.
Christy Dirren, an Organizational Communications major, talks about her experiences in the Prior Learning Assessment program. Christy earned 12 credits toward her Bachelor’s degree by writing essays based on learning from her prior experiences.
The PLA topics that Christy wrote for were:
Principles of Instructional Design
Youth Ministry 101
Christy — congratulations! This is a great accomplishment!
Angela Pernisco, a Psychology major, just completed her PLA portfolio for 15 credits, all in Communications topics:
CCM 320 Public Presentations
CCM 323 Effective Listening
CCM 324 Nonverbal Communication
CCM 346 Conflict Management (with the grade of “A”!)
CCM 356 Intercultural Communication
Angela wrote this in her final Reflection Essay:
When I began the PLA process, I thought that this journey would focus on demonstrating how my previous experiences reflected the skills that would have been taught in a classroom setting. However, this experience has been much more than that. I have learned a great deal of academic theory relating to what I’ve been practicing for years in the “real world.” . . . This process has transformed my thinking by demonstrating that there is a significant difference between academic learning and experiential learning. On-the-job training provides us the competency to complete a task, whereas academic learning provides us with a history of why we do things as we do. This additional history is what transforms us from being process-oriented participants to innovators for the next generation.