Webinar for the power of PLA today

webinar for PLA

Recognition of Prior Learning for Access, Equity, Learning & More

On 19 May 2020 a webinar for the power of Prior Learning for Access (PLA) took place. PLA practitioners joined this webinar to learn more about our PLA values, commitments and to engage in a discussion about PLA’s impact around the world.

The wider acceptance of the evaluation of prior learning has marked a significant breakthrough in higher education and in workforce development and training. More and more institutions of many types now acknowledge learners have knowledge, skills and insights gained outside of the academy or outside of formal training centers. This means that many learners now have access, status and recognition, that they had previously been denied. PLA has gained a great deal of power.

PLA has been an integral part of a movement for educational and social change. Over the last near half-century, institutions, organizations and policy groups have developed strategies to assess what people know. The “how to” of prior learning assessment is central. The values, understandings and overarching beliefs about “why” PLA are so vital, but they are often pushed to the side. The goal of this webinar is to remind the “why,” both the “why” of the past and the “why” of the future. Thus, PLA is a way for credential attainment, but it is also an effective tool that we can call on to address issues of justice, access, and equity.


PLA Webinar Guests

Heidi Bolton is the Research Director at the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). She oversees the research for national policy development and implementation for the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), the system for education, training, development and work in South Africa. Her responsibilities have included overseeing long-term SAQA Partnership Research into a maximally inclusive RPL model, a peer-reviewed book on “RPL as specialized pedagogy,” and co-leading national and NQF Sub-Framework RPL policy development. Heidi has also worked for a Quality Council as an academic textbook publisher, and has taught adults at school and university levels.



Amber Garrison Duncan is a strategy director at Lumina Foundation where she leads a portfolio of work that supports the creation of a system where high-quality learning can be validated and valued regardless of where it happens, and efficiently contribute to credentials. This work allows her to draw on her 15 years of experience as a campus-based professional, designing co-curricular learning experiences and leading assessment. Prior to joining Lumina Foundation in 2013, Amber served in many capacities at the University of Oregon, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, and at Hope College. She has researched and written on general education, assessment, innovation in student affairs, Latinas in higher education and women in leadership. Amber is co-editor of the book, Leading Assessment for Student Success: Ten Tenets that Change Culture and Practice in Students Affairs.


Anni Karttunen has worked with adult learning for over 20 years. She has worked for the Finnish National Agency for Education as head of Adult Learning unit and she was the head of unit of EUedu – Centre for European Educational Policy in a regional educational consortium. Anni was one of the founding members of the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL). She is still active in the network as an expert in validation of non-formal and informal learning. Currently, Anni is an entrepreneur specializing in developing adult learning policies, consulting, training and writing on issues relevant to adult learning. She has worked in Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, Kosovo, North Macedonia as an international expert for validation of prior learning and lifelong guidance.


PROFI VNFIL was there and contributed with its experience so far!