The aim of the study was to develop and promote national benchmarks for those engaged in accreditation of prior learning (APL) termed 'prior learning assessment and recognition' (PLAR) assessment in Canada, in all sectors and communities. The study objectives were to gain practitioner consensus on the development of benchmarks for APL (PLAR) across Canada; produce a guide to support the implementation of national benchmarks; make recommendations for the promotion of the national benchmarks; and distribute the guide. The study also investigated the feasibility of developing a system to confirm the competence of APL (PLAR) practitioners, based on nationally agreed benchmarks for practice.
A qualitative research strategy was developed, which used a benchmarking survey and focus groups as the primary research tools. These were applied to a purposive sample of APL practitioners (n = 91). The participants were identified through the use of an initial screening survey.
Respondents indicated that in Canada, PLAR is used in a variety of ways to assist with individual and personal growth for human resource development, the preparation of professionals and the achievement of academic credit. The findings of the focus groups are summarised using a SWOT analysis
The study identified that the main functions of the PLAR practitioners are to prepare individuals for assessment and conduct assessments. Although practitioners should be made aware of the potential conflicts in undertaking combined roles, they should be encouraged to develop confidence in both functions.