Prior Learning Assessments

Press Release

Posted July 31, 2014


Some students come to college having experience in a field or knowledge from independent study.  Work, community or military service are other typical areas where knowledge gained may be assessed for college credit. 

This kind of knowledge is assessed through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at Lorain County Community College.  PLA gives students the ability to accelerate their degree and avoid the repetition of coursework for material they have already mastered.

“Prior learning assessment allows the student’s life experiences and the learning from those experiences to be evaluated for up to 30 college credit hours,” said Carrie Delaney, coordinator of Prior Learning Assessment at LCCC.  “This can help them accelerate their degree completion, reduce time and costs for themselves, and allow our students to move more quickly into their career of choice.” 

The process of awarding of credits can benefit a student in several ways, including:    

  • PLA credits can be used to waive course prerequisites and obtain advanced standing that would reduce the time spent in the classroom and help accelerate student through their program.
  • PLA credits can be used to meet program/major requirements.
  • PLA may be able to offer additional course credit once military transcripts
  • (CCAF, JST, DD214) have been evaluated.

“The program is not restricted to any age group, but it is utilized primarily by adult learners who tend to have a more extensive background in work as well as life,” Delaney said.

The key component of any prior experience is not the experience itself, but the learning that has been achieved, she noted. “This learning must parallel the learning outcomes of LCCC courses already in place for faculty to recommend that credit be awarded,” she said.

Learning is assessed through three different methods:

  • Credit-by-Exam options; CLEP, academic division proficiency or professional exams
  • Evaluation of military experience and training
  • Development of a portfolio

Through the Ohio Board of Regents with funding provided by the Lumina Foundation, LCCC has entered into an agreement with CAEL/ who offer online resources that help adult learners earn college credit for college-level knowledge experienced outside of the classroom. In addition, they offer portfolio development classes and evaluations as well as prior learning assessment resources to our students. assesses Learning Portfolios built upon an individual’s knowledge – from job or military training, volunteer service or other relevant experience – for college credit. In addition to empowering individuals to go back to school and take the next step in their careers, research indicates students who receive PLA credit have higher graduation rates than students without it. LCCC and CAEL/ will offer an instructor led on-line Prior Learning Portfolio development course that will help guide our students through the entire portfolio process.

LearningCounts ( is administered by The Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a non-profit pioneer in adult education, committed to help people obtain the education and training required to attain meaningful, secure employment. LearningCounts has received grant money from Lumina Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation, among others to initiate research and development of this innovative student resource.

To learn more about having your experiences assessed for credit, please attend an information session on the LCCC campus.  A complete list of PLA information sessions can be found at For more information, call Carrie Delaney at 440-366-4076.


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