adult learner in classroom

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Opportunities

Students may now apply for potential credit for their prior learning and experiences for various programs within the College of Education and Human Development at Western Michigan University. This is a great opportunity for nontraditional students to showcase their prior knowledge and experiences, and fast track their undergraduate and/or graduate degree program.

Program areas

PLA credits are available within the following program areas. As a first step, be sure to review the PLA program details for your program of interest. 

  • Coaching Sport Performance

    M.A. Coaching Sport Performance program allows graduate students to obtain credit for their prior experiences in the field. Students are able to obtain up to 50% of the total program credit hours.

  • Early Childhood Education

    (Available 2022)

  • Educational Leadership

    PLA credits are available within five different Educational Leadership graduate degree programs: (1) Ph.D. in Educational Leadership: K-12 Leadership; (2) Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership; (3) Graduate Certificate in Central Office Leadership; (4) MA in Ed. Leadership: K12 School Principal Leadership; and (5) MA in Ed. Leadership: K12 School Principal Leadership and Interscholastic Athletics.

  • Educational Technology

    Eligible Educational Technology degree programs

    • PhD in Education and Human Development with an emphasis in Educational & Instructional Technology (students can earn up to 9 of 21 Emphasis Area credits via PLA)
    • MA in Educational & Instructional Technology (students can earn up 15 of 30 credits via PLA)
    • Graduate Certificate in Educational & Instructional Technology (students can earn up 9 of 18 credits via PLA)

PLA Portfolio Development Course

Most students seeking PLA credits for eligible programs within the College of Education and Human Development are required to complete a “PLA Portfolio Development Course.”

  • PLA Portfolio Development Course information

    Course cost

    The self-paced course explains the PLA portfolio development process, and the rubric criteria used to review your submission. You will develop and submit one or more portfolios as part of the course, and only upon submission of such portfolios will you be charged for the course. One portfolio is required per each course for which you are seeking PLA credit.

    The cost for the course is $400 (which includes one portfolio submission), and then an additional $100 for each additional portfolio. This means the cost will be $400 for the course and 1 portfolio; $500 for the course and 2 portfolios; $600 for the course and 3 portfolios; $700 for the course and 4 portfolios; and $800 for the course and 5 portfolios. There is a maximum of 5 portfolios that can be submitted as part of one course.

    If you do not receive credit for one or more portfolios submitted, you can review the rubric scoring and comments within the course. Using that data, you can submit each portfolio just one additional time, for a re-submission cost of $100 per portfolio.

    All costs are non-refundable and such payment does not guarantee any credit awarded (with awarded credit dependent upon a successful portfolio review). Details for the initial portfolio submission, and a potential re-submission, are found within the PLA Portfolio Development course.

    Note on course cost: students who are awarded PLA credit for one academic course (most of CEHD graduate courses are three-credits) see a significant savings in cost and time in comparison to enrolling in the course. For example, in the 2021-2022 academic year, the graduate tuition rate for Michigan residents is $703.48 per credit hour while non-Michigan residents pay for $1,055.22 per credit hour. For a course with three credit hours, the savings would be $1,710.44 for Michigan residents, and $2,765.66 for non-Michigan residents.  

    Course registration deadlines

    The course is self-paced, so there are no registration deadlines. Once you complete the course and submit at least one portfolio, you can anticipate receiving the results of the reviewer’s assessment in about 30 days. That information will be located within the dropbox section of the course where you had submitted your portfolio.

    Where to find the course (once registered)

    Several days after registering for the course, it will be ready for you to begin the course. It can be located by going into “goWMU” and selecting “Elearning” (upper right corner). Within that page, select the “PLA Portfolio Development” under “My Courses” (middle of the page). Remember, the course will not appear for at least three working days after you complete the registration form.

  • Register for the PLA Portfolio Development Course

About the College of Education and Human Development

As the cornerstone of Western Michigan University, the College of Education and Human Development continues to build upon its rich tradition of excellence by facilitating the preparation and growth of pre K-12 teachers, human service professionals, innovative designers, and health and wellness specialists.

View a full list of all the programs offered from the College of Education and Human Development.