The Skills and Knowledge Profile: An Introduction
Prior Learning Assessment and
Recognition (PLAR) is a process of identifying,
assessing, and recognizing what a person knows and
can do (CLFDB, 1999). It evaluates the skills and knowledge adults acquire
through work experience, community activities, volunteer work, non-college
and independent study. The Skills and Knowledge Profile (SKP) has been
developed as a tool to document the learning styles and strategies of
adult learners. It is the result of a two-year action research project entitled
"Learning Capacities in the Community and Workplace: An Action Research
The SKP is part of a trend in adult
education, which recognizes and builds on
people’s capacity to share their knowledge and
skills. It is a generic tool that has a strong potential to fulfill the needs of
various work, community and educational institutions as well as recognizing
sectors where learning strategies are based largely in the cultural networks of
community and workplace rather than formal education.
The SKP is a tool that helps learners
to identify and value their skills and
experience. Using the SKP can assist an individual
in sorting out his/her skills and knowledge before embarking on writing a resume.
The process helps in identifying transferable skills. The differences
and distinctions that people use to order their plans and activities can be
identified. It can prove useful for individuals who are hoping to find work but are not
yet ready to write a resume or who have not had strong attachments to the
workforce. It can be used as a personal resource assisting in application
processes and job searches. When used in the work place the SKP is a way to share
information, facilitate promotion and facilitate the development of work
groups or teams.
The SKP can go beyond the needs of
employable persons. Recording one’s
skills and knowledge can help identify interests
and skills and clarify a career path or direct retired persons to new hobbies or
projects. The SKP has the capacity to create community skills banks or skills
exchanges. It is also a useful tool for working with volunteers by helping
place volunteers appropriately; match needs with abilities, and facilitate their
process of being recognized for the attributes they bring with them.
Self-confidence is an important aspect
of one’s ability to move forward in work
or study. Many persons completing the SKP commented
that the exercise of reflecting and recording one’s skills and
knowledge increased their sense of self-esteem. It also allows an opportunity for the
participant to collectively and critically reflects on the actual meaning of their
experiences and the relationship these experiences have to the notion of knowledge
The Skills and Knowledge Profile
contains sections on:
A) personal information
B) Courses and workshops — a history of classroom learning
C) personal informal learning — learning that takes places in daily
life and major events
D) Job Related Informal Learning — chronicles the skills and how
they were learned
E) future learning plans — how to apply skills and experience in
combination with training program.
To be most successful it is important
that the process take place in a social
interactive context with a supportive environment.
It has been our experience that the manual achieves greater impact when
completed with a facilitator and the accompanying Coaches Manual. It has also be our
experience that facilitation amongst workers requires a familiarly
with workers lives, workers history, and workers realities.
The National Literacy Secretariat (NLS),
the Canadian Labour Force
Development Board (CLFDB), the joint
Union-Management Project (JUMP) and the New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL)
Network based in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of
Toronto generously supported the project. It was initially a partnership of the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and Advocates for
Community-based Training and Education for Women (ACTEW).
We hope that by using the SKP to record
their past learnings adult learners will
be encouraged to continue and that educational and
economic institutions will come on board to recognize the initiative and
creativity that is revealed in the SKP document.
Finally, we wish to thank the many
people who participated — learners, training
and education providers — for their time and
feedback. With their input and thoughts we have been able to produce a document
that lends itself to a number of environments and uses.