6 Defining College-Level Learning

Tips for Defining College-Level Learning from Experience

Use the following tips in creating your portfolio to display learning at the 400-level.

  1. Refer to Kolb’s Learning Cycle often as you write and compile your portfolio. Analyze not only what you have learned, but also how you learned it, through this cycle.
  2. Refer also to the upper three or four levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Exhibit your learning in terms of these higher-level cognitive domains, and use the terminology of these levels as you describe your learning. The words in the third column may come in handy as verbs to use when describing your learning.
  3. Identify the intermediate stages involved each step of the process. This will give a fuller picture of the process as well as your understanding of it.
  4. Personalize your knowledge and experiences. For example, if you are talking about your knowledge of  the criminal justice system, also tell about the people you interacted with everyday. What issues did they introduce, and how were these issues solved?
  5. Critique your experience. List and describe characteristics of well-run/poorly-run programs; good/ineffective leaders, and so on. Use real-life examples. Illustrate your learning with your experience.
  6. Discuss patterns you observe in working with people. What commonalities and differences have you observed or experienced with your particular population: customers, students, employees, parents, and so on? How do you use your learning to predict needs and solutions?
  7. Explain how to predict success or failure in your area of expertise. Discuss risk management and how to problem-solve with real situations from your experience.
  8. Describe your competition. Describe your work culture and that of your competitors. How do you move through the communication pathways?
  9. Explain how you run your own business or how you observe the company you work for being managed.
  10. Describe your decision making process.
  11. Demonstrate your critical-thinking and analytical skills. Provide analysis of the critical aspects in the narrative. Remember that PLA is about reflecting on and analyzing learning, not merely recounting details.
  12. Provide a knowledge base. What body of knowledge do you work from every day? Has the level of knowledge changed over time? What theoretical concepts underlie your experience?


This chapter is an adaptation of PLA 200: Introduction to Portfolio Development by Theresa Hoffman and Thomas Edison State University, and is used under a CC BY 4.0 International license.



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