Credit for Prior Learning

Definition of Prior Learning

Prior learning is learning gained through life or work outside of structured higher educational courses. Many people learn through their experiences in life such as those in professional endeavors (through business, the military, or other work/training experiences) or through other educational experiences (through community work, family, travel, or personal study).

Definition of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

PLA is a process through which students identify areas of relevant learning from their past experiences, demonstrate that learning through appropriate documentation, and submit their materials so that they can be assessed and possibly awarded academic credit relative to specific course objectives at Middle Georgia State University.

Eligibility to Participate in PLA

Prospective students who fit the following criteria are eligible to participate in PLA:

  • they are adults
  • they are non-traditional students
  • they have other learning experiences outside of a traditional college curriculum

Methods of Earning Credit for Prior Learning

Broadly speaking, one of the goals of college level education is to prepare responsible, reflective citizens who adapt constructively to change. College level education also helps students become critical thinkers and problem solvers in an ever-changing world. Students can acquire learning from a variety of sources outside the traditional classroom, and they can earn appropriate credit in their work towards a degree for verifiable college level learning acquired through life or work experience, not for the experience itself. Students who acquire the level of knowledge that meets the expectations and the learning outcomes of a specific course may earn credit for that course, provided the students can demonstrate proficiency in that specific course. Students’ knowledge of materials addressed in a specific course can be assessed in a number of ways; each of which is listed to the left.

Georgia Opportunities for Adult Learners