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September 29, 2009
The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) project is in its third and final year at NAC. It has been a rich, collaborative process between educators and learners across the territory.Take a moment to visit us at www.plar.arcticcollege.ca
The project began in 2007 with the creation of a culturally-relevant portfolio development course and the training of eight adult educators as portfolio development facilitators. The evaluation of the first year indicated that through portfolio development, participants across Nunavut engaged in deep learning that has helped them identify their strengths, increase their self-confidence and set goals for their futures. Strengthened by this success, it has blossomed across the college.
Over 180 students have participated in the Portfolio Development course to date. We have offered three intakes of the Portfolio Development Facilitator Training to 34 instructors and adult educators across the territory. We have also offered three intakes of the PLAR Advisor/Assessor Training to over 36 participants including NAC faculty and administrators and key stakeholders from the Department of Education, the Government of Nunavut and NTI. All participants indicate the need to move forward with PLAR and Portfolio Development within Nunavut as a way to strengthen the capacity of individuals to meet their life, work and training goals, and for the territory as a whole to meet Article 23 objectives.
This year over 30 portfolio development courses are being delivered by trained Adult Educators and instructors across Nunavut, and the 3-credit portfolio development course is being integrated into ABE level programming and the College Foundations program at the college.
The main goals for the project in this final year are:
• to strengthen the capacity for ongoing Portfolio Development course delivery at NAC,
• to revise the existing PLAR policy and increase capacity at the college to recognize prior learning for credit,
• to secure sustainability for a permanent PLAR office at Nunavut Arctic College, and
• to raise awareness of PLAR in Nunavut as a tool for the territory to move forward, building on the strengths of Nunavummiut.
This means the ongoing training, mentoring and support of instructors and adult educators this year. Our next portfolio development facilitator training will take place from October 5 – 10, 2009 in Rankin Inlet as part of the Nunavut Arctic College Adult Education Certificate program. Contact us to register or to find out about additional upcoming training.
To ensure the sustainability of PLAR and build on the successes of the past two years, NAC is working to create a permanent PLAR office which would implement, coordinate, promote, and monitor PLAR activities and procedures at the college. While NAC seeks permanent funding for this office, we are also continuing to develop partnerships with the Department of Education for ongoing sustainability. This year we are partnering with the Department of Education to create and deliver a Career Development Practitioner Certificate Program to be delivered in a modular fashion over the next three years. PLAR and Portfolio Development will be integrated as the first step in this program.
As part of strengthening the capacity at NAC to move forward with the recognition of learning, we propose the creation of a PLAR committee with representation from all program areas. This committee would provide advice, assistance and recommendations on the development of the PLAR policy and guidelines, training and resources, and keep programs informed of new developments. Let us know if you would like to be involved!
Across Canada, governments and many other organizations including schools, universities, colleges, and professional associations are using PLAR as a tool to recognize the rich learning adults have gained from life experiences. This asset-based approach increases access to education, training, and employment by building on the strengths of individuals. As part of the goal to raise awareness about PLAR territorially, NAC will be hosting a closing project forum from January 19 – 21, 2010 in Iqaluit. This forum will bring together NAC staff, key Nunavut stakeholders and PLAR experts from across Canada for three days of information sharing, workshops, and professional development in the area of PLAR and portfolio development. By the end of September, we will also be launching a website that will provide information, resources, links and support for PLAR practitioners and candidates across the territory. Take a moment to visit us at www.plar.arcticcollege.ca
It has certainly been a busy few years for the PLAR project, with this last year promising to be the busiest yet. Special thanks to all the instructors and learners whose dedication, support and participation have been fundamental to the success of the program. If you would like to learn more about PLAR and portfolio development, join the NAC PLAR committee, or participate in upcoming training, please contact us!
Author: Jennifer Archer
Qikiqtani Regional Coordinator, Anna Ziegler
Kivalliq/Kitikmeot Regional Coordinator, Charmian Jenvenne
Project Manager, Jennifer Archer
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