The History of CAPLA

The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) is the national voice for the recognition of prior learning (RPL) in Canada. From its early days in Belleville, Ontario, CAPLA was nurtured by First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) and continues to benefit from the legacy of its founders.

CAPLA has been operating since 1994 and was incorporated in 1997 as a non-profit organization. Its members include adult learners, PLAR practitioners, researchers, employers, labour, academic and training institutions, government, occupational bodies, settlement and integration organizations, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and industry councils. CAPLA continues to host yearly face-to-face conferences on a range of recognition of prior learning (RPL) programs, practices, policies, projects and research with local, provincial/territorial, national and international emphasis.

CAPLA has a voluntary Board of Directors from across Canada who are involved with PLAR in a variety of ways. They are elected by CAPLA Members at the Annual General Meeting which coincides with CAPLA’s fall conference each year.

Since the early 1990s, those interested in the recognition of adult learning have come together to share effective practices connected to the assessment of experiential, informal and non-formal learning and how it can be articulated against academic, regulatory or industry standards. Experts from across Canada and partners from abroad have helped shape the look and substance of what RPL in Canada is today. CAPLA members continue to be modern-day pioneers in the field of prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR or RPL). They have worked tirelessly within their communities, institutions and organizations to build a culture for adult learning, assessment and recognition, in order to facilitate social inclusion, individual growth, equity and economic prosperity for all.

CAPLA has provided the expertise, advocacy and support for the development of PLAR in Canada. The existence of PLAR, the communities’ understanding and use of it, and adult learners’ awareness and access to it are key to removing barriers to recognition, regardless of the end uses of the recognition process.

CAPLA promotes RPL communities of practice through its working groups. CAPLA members and CAPLA followers are supported through online discussions, webcasts, webinars and email updates. As a virtual community for outreach, skill development, knowledge building, mutual support, research and advocacy, CAPLA is a clearing house for vital information about RPL services and practices. Its audiences include those who need PLAR services as well as those who develop, provide, regulate and research them.

CAPLA’s Board of Directors endorses the use of pan-Canadian RPL guidelines and quality practices as described in its recent publication Quality Assurance for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Canada – THE MANUAL (2015).