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Research Domain: Group Two - Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Title of Project: A Review of the Current State of the Use of PLAR in Canada and Abroad

Start Date: April 1, 1997
Academic Co-investigators: Dr. Alan Thomas (OISE/UT), Monica Collins (U. Windsor)
Student Researchers: Sue Vanstone (OISE/UT), Luis Barnola (OISE/UT)

The object of this proposal is to establish and maintain a current "portrait" of the use of PLAR by potential students and providing agencies in Canada and to a lesser degree in other countries.

There have been two national surveys of the use of PLAR in Canada, (Thomas and Klaiman, 1991, SSHRC, and Isabelle & Associates, 1993, HRDC). Since that time many new agencies have appeared with an active interest in PLAR; eg, Human Resources Development (Canada); the Canadian Labour Force Development Board; The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment, the Ontario Prior Learning Assessment Network, and various other provincial and regional bodies, public and private. In addition, with the assistance of O-PLAN, and the Ontario Council of Regents of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, the OISE/UT library has begun a major collection of PLAR material, to our knowledge the only such collection and centre in Canada.

The present proposal aims to try to coordinate the information held by the various bodies mentioned, plus those that are not yet known about, and produce a unified portrait of the present state of usage in Canada. An additional objective will be to try to maintain that portrait by establishing systematic links across the country, perhaps similar to the way that ERIC has maintained the various educational indices in recent years.

The final product, made up of publications, brochures, oral information, and statistics, where they are available, remains to be designed, but will be designed with not only NALL and its participants in mind, but future generations as well. Association with the NALL Newsletter, and the production of other regular sources of information will be considered.

Associated resources are, the OISE/UT library, other libraries and data bases, and ONTERIS, the Ontario Centred Document Collection at OISE/UT, the Information Centre of the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment. We also plan to make as much use as possible of the data collection resources of the agencies already mentioned.

Most of the work will be concentrated in the first year, with the initial establishment of links with other agencies, the collection of information and establishment of means of dissemination. A small amount of resource will be needed in the subsequent three years to maintain the links and the documentation.

International: A project for the development of an electronic network has been presented by CAPLA and the University of Maryland to the Kellog Foundation. We have already indicated our support for that project and our wish to participate actively in it. We have no clear idea at the moment what the real prospects of that project are, or what our participation might involve.

However, there seems no reason for us not to experiment with the establishment of E-Mail links around the world based on interest in PLAR. A Canadian network, centred in Ontario is already in existence; an attempt an a short-term network devoted to PLAR was launched from South Africa in the summer of 1996. We are proposing to use the considerable resources of OISE/UT in the form of a graduate assistant to explore the creation of such a network, which could then by linked with or folded into the CAPLA project if it materializes. Our efforts will be coordinated with theirs as fully as possible.


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