Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) currently resides in the Internships and Prior Learning (IPL) Department, part of the Office of Engaged Learning.

The Prior Learning Assessment program, part of the Office of Internships and Prior Learning, provides students the opportunity to earn academic credit in recognition of their life-long learning experiences.

IPL 305/501 is an online course that involves substantial reflection, analysis, writing, and editing. During the course, students develop a portfolio to document and qualify their prior learning experience. Academic credit is not awarded on the basis of experience alone; the experience must be shown to have satisfied learning outcomes that are equivalent to one semester of college-level study.

After completing the course, students may have the option to earn additional credit and satisfy additional ECCE requirements by submitting additional portfolios that document college-level learning experiences.

For Students

Experiential and lifelong learning is learning that has occurred outside of a traditional classroom. Students may obtain college credit at UIS by presenting their experiential learning for assessment in a portfolio

The Prior Learning Assessment program guides students through the development of this experiential learning portfolio. Students create their first portfolio in IPL 305 Prior Learning Portfolio Development.

Prior Learning also facilitates the assessment process of additional experiential learning portfolios in some majors. Students may create additional portfolios for a total of up to 16 credit hours of experiential learning, depending on the academic program.

Discuss your plans for PLA with your academic advisor or contact IPL at (217) 206-6640 or

For more information

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has been in the forefront in developing ways to assess learning not easily evaluated by traditional techniques. The portfolio model is one approach to assessment. The Office of Internships and Prior Learning adheres to CAEL best practices in prior learning. Credit for coursework completed through non-traditional avenues is a widespread practice at more than 3,500 accredited institutions.