Welcome to the APUS Help Center

COLL200 — Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Course

COLL200 is an 8-week, 3-credit-hour course for undergraduate students participating in the prior learning assessment program. The course provides coaching and a structured series of activities designed to help you develop and submit a PLA portfolio. Note: PLA graduate students do not take COLL200, but instead take a self-paced workshop.

PLA Portfolio

A prior learning portfolio is a collection of materials compiled to demonstrate previous college-level learning relevant to your academic degree plan. A portfolio consists of multiple components, including:

  • An educational goal statement of your personal learning motivations
  • An autobiography focusing on your professional and personal learning endeavors
  • Your resume
  • written narrative detailing how you meet learning objectives for the course for which you are seeking PLA credit
  • Additional supporting documentation such as sample work products, certificates, etc.

COLL200 Coursework

The workload for COLL200 is similar to any other course at the university. There are required forums, writing assignments, and quizzes. COLL200 provides specific exercises to assist you in the identification of individual prior learning that may be credit-worthy.

In addition to the objectives met while preparing the portfolio, COLL200 will help you:

  • Focus on previous knowledge you acquired, not simply the experience.
  • Differentiate between experiential learning and life experience and traditional classroom learning.
  • Explain Kolb’s learning theory as it applies to personal learning experiences.
  • Analyze your personal learning styles, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and leverage them to develop and achieve educational goals.
  • Write a cogent, grammatically and structurally correct narrative discussing your experiential learning.
  • Prepare an inventory of prior learning and identify opportunities for additional PLA portfolios.

At the end of the course, you should have developed at least one portfolio for assessment. In some cases, additional work may be required after the course ends and prior to submitting your portfolio for evaluation. Also, you can continue to work with your PLA advisor independently to create additional portfolios once the course has ended.

Credits Earned

You have the potential of earning two types of credits:

  1. Credits earned for the COLL200 course, which are applied as elective credits with a letter grade.
  2. Credits awarded for each approved portfolio. These credits are posted to your academic transcript in fulfillment for the course(s) you petitioned for PLA credit, and count toward your non-traditional Maximum Transfer Credit Limits. A letter grade is not assigned to the portfolio and it is not factored into your GPA.

Registering and Paying for PLA

You register and pay tuition for COLL200 as you would any other credited course. The tuition includes evaluation of one portfolio (the portfolio compiled during the COLL200 course).

After successful completion of the course, you may submit additional portfolios for an evaluation fee of $250 per portfolio. This means for every credited course for which you earn PLA credits, you’ll save at least 2 credit hours worth of general tuition costs.

You may be able to use financial aid, tuition assistance, or employer assistance to cover the cost of COLL200; however, additional portfolio evaluation fees may need to be covered out-of-pocket. Please check with the financial aid office to discuss your particular situation.

Portfolio Assessment

Faculty evaluators may take up to 4 weeks to complete their assessment of your portfolio. In some cases, the evaluator may request additional information, which may add up to 4 additional weeks to the review process.

You will receive feedback from the evaluator, and if credit is awarded, the PLA team will notify the Transfer Credit department to apply the appropriate credits to your academic plan.

The entire process should take 6 weeks or less, unless additional information is required. If you plan to participate in the PLA program, you are advised to start as soon as your initial the transfer credit evaluation process is complete, to allow time to submit a PLA application, register for and complete COLL200, submit your portfolio, and wait for assessment results.

PLA Appeals

If you submit a portfolio and credit is denied, you will have the opportunity to work with your PLA advisor to revise and resubmit your portfolio based on the comments of the evaluator. After a second evaluation, if credit is not recommended, you may submit a formal appeal through the PLA office. In such cases, the school dean will review the decision of the evaluator and render a decision. The decision of the dean is final, and once a portfolio has been appealed it may not be revised and resubmitted for further evaluation..

Note: There is no charge for the first resubmission of your portfolio, but subsequent resubmissions will incur an additional evaluation fee of $250.

Graduate Students

If you are a graduate student, you may participate in the Prior Learning Assessment program, but you will take a non-credit-bearing workshop instead of COLL200. Please contact [email protected] for more details.