Experiential Learning

Portfolio Guidelines

Portfolio Required Contents

Every item listed must be included in your portfolio in the order shown below.

  1. Cover Sheet
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Abstract (from PLA Request Packet)
  4. Copy of receipt showing student paid for PLA Portfolio Evaluation fee ($130 non-refundable)
  5. Request to Pursue PLA Form (from PLA Request Packet)
  6. Course Information Form (from PLA Request Packet)
  7. Autobiography
  8. Resume
  9. Unofficial Transcripts
  10. Completed Course Learning Outcome (CLO) Matrix for each CLO
  11. Reflective Essay
  12. Bibliography
  13. Appendices
  14. Evaluation Form
Cover Sheet

Download this official form

Portfolio Cover Sheet

Table of Contents

This includes the portfolio page numbers including pages numbers for supporting documents properly cataloged and noted. See instructions for how to do an automatic Table of Contents in Word.

Instructions for Automatic Table of Contents in Word


The one-page abstract (from PLA Request Packet) is an executive summary justifying your request and stating the documentation you will be providing to substantiate your PLA.  The abstract should be succinct, but should also clearly indicate the link between the experience, what learning took place, and the course for which you are seeking credit.


PLA Request Packet

Copy of receipt for the PLA Portfolio Evaluation Fee

Evidence that the $230 fee has been paid

Course Information Form

Form originally submitted with the request packet.

PLA Request Packet


To demonstrate why you have selected the course in this portfolio, prepare an autobiography of two-four pages based on your life experiences using your resume as a guide.  Relate experiences relevant to the course in a general explanation, saving the details for the Reflective Essay part of the portfolio.  This autobiography introduces you to the person who will be evaluating your portfolio and helps them understand the context of your learning for the particular course credit you are requesting.  It should include your educational and career goals.  More importantly, it offers you the opportunity to identify experiences from different times in your life that have come together to provide learning experiences related to your selected course and its CLOs.


Provide a current resume that includes education and work experiences.  Detail significant activities, exact dates, accomplishments in the workplace, and all non-formal and work-related training.

Unofficial Transcripts

Include unofficial transcripts of all university credits.

Request through MyDixie

Completed Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) Matrix for each CLO

This matrix must be completed for EACH CLO for your selected course.  For example, if your selected course has six CLOs, then your portfolio must include six completed matrix sheets.

For each category under each CLO, list what you have done, indicate how much time was involved, and describe the activities that resulted in learning relative to the CLO.  Explain what you learned using action verbs such as differentiate, compare, contrast, list, calculate, solve, construct, organize, etc.

You must also list the documentation or evidence you have that supports your claim.  If you do not have valid documentation you will not be able to use the experience.  Your matrix must tie the experience to a specific CLO and you must be able to indicate how it enabled you to achieve the learning.  See Appendix A for more information on documentation.

CLO Matrix Form

Reflective Essay

The purpose of this essay is to provide a detailed critical and reflective analysis of your experiences in order to articulate your learning and competencies relative to the course CLOs.

  • Use the course objectives to guide your discussion of your accomplishments.
  • Pull in details from the related CLO Matrix; explain where, why, and what experiences were involved.
  • For a course that includes a substantial amount of theory, demonstrate that you have the appropriate balance of theory and application.
  • The essay will incorporate terminology appropriate to the course and examples of applications of the concepts as demonstrated through your accomplishments. Consider the narrative as an open-book take-home test. Make sure it is clear, concise, and free of errors in sentence structure, grammar, and spelling. It needs to demonstrate college-level writing and critical thinking. The narrative may be 3-10 pages in length, depending on the course.  See Appendix B for information on critical thinking indicators.

The bibliography indicates reading done on the portfolio subject. You should have at least 3-10 references, probably including the course’s textbook. Cite sources when you reference theorists, laws, statistical data, and any information that does not come from your own mind in the portfolio. References must be cited in an officially recognized style.

DSU Citation Guide


Place documentation materials and additional materials in this section.

Appendix A and B Documentation

Evaluation Form

Include a blank copy of the Evaluator Rating Form in your portfolio.

Note: The evaluator may return the portfolio to you for minor revisions.  Major revisions are not permitted.  The determination regarding the option to make minor revisions is based on the evaluator’s assessment of the portfolio via the rubric included in the Evaluator Rating Form.  If minor revisions are requested, a due date will be noted on the Evaluator Rating Form.  You must re-submit the portfolio by that date or forfeit credit with an automatic denial.

PLA Portfolio Evaluator Rating From