Learning that occurs outside the sponsorship of a legally authorized and accredited postsecondary educational institution is defined as experiential learning. This learning occurs within the context of your life and work experience and can include independent reading and study, training courses in business, government, and industry, third-party certificates and credentials, as well as other sources. In accordance with guidelines established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), UT recognizes and awards college credit for experiential learning through a portfolio assessment process that adheres to the CAEL guidelines.
Credit is not awarded for work/life experience itself, but rather for the learning you gained from the experience demonstrated through a portfolio. The development of the portfolio provides a way for you to analyze and reflect on your experience in order to demonstrate experiential learning by providing evidence along with written explanations. In this way, the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio is a bridge between your experience and your academic degree.
Before you can begin the PLA Portfolio process you must do the following:
- Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at UT.
- Meet with an advisor to ensure that PLA credit will fit into your graduation plan.
- Participate in a PLA Portfolio Orientation with the PLA Mentor. This may be accomplished in person or via Zoom.