A joint publication of CAEL and Strada titled Attracting Adult Learners with Credit for Prior Learning notes that among prospective postsecondary learners, “opportunities to earn CPL can drive their enrollment choices, yet differences by income suggest the need for greater clarity in messaging for lower-income populations.” The term “credit for prior learning” (CPL), sometimes called “prior learning assessment” (PLA), refers to methods used by education and training providers to evaluate learning that has already taken place outside conventional academic environments. It is used to award various credentials that accelerate progress toward achievement of education and career credentials. The CAEL/Strada research brief reflects responses from more than 1,000 American adults, age 25–64, who described themselves as “likely/very likely to enroll in a 2-year or 4-year degree postsecondary program in the next six months.” Key findings include: (1) The concept of CPL was familiar to and well understood by most respondents, especially as household income rises. (2) Most respondents said they have applied for or plan to apply for CPL. Again, these percentages rise with household income. (3) A large majority of respondents said the ability to receive CPL would strongly influence their choice of educational institution. Strada Education Network is a national social impact organization devoted to research, philanthropy, and solutions that align education and careers. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) helps organizations in supporting adult learners as they navigate on- and off-ramps between education and employment. Download the document here.
See also CAEL/WICHE, The PLA Boost: Results from a 72-Institution Targeted Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes (Dec 2020).