21 The Role of Supporting Documentation
Supporting Documentation is included as part of your portfolio in order for you to be able to leverage any official trainings, courses, commendations, publicity, letters of recommendation, or other sources that speak to your experience and demonstrate the learning you’ve done.
It is, in other words, a “paper trail” of your learning.
This section is the only part of the portfolio that has voices that are not yours in it, since you’ve written the resumes and Educational Narrative yourself. Supporting Documentation is simply a way to add weight to the stories in your Narrative, by giving verified proof of your expertise The Supporting Documentation allows other voices to vouch for what you wrote.
Cases of Very Little or No Supporting Documentation
For some students, this part of the portfolio is the most stressful. You’ve had long careers and moved to different living spaces, smalled down, cleaned out the attics, and who knew that certificate from twenty years ago would be important all this time later?? Locating these documents can absolutely be difficult because of these reasons and many more. We understand that, and offer the following advice and perspective.
It’s important to remember that all three components of the Portfolio work together. The Educational Narrative, PLA Resume, Traditional Resume, and Supporting Documentation all work in concert to make your case for challenging a course. Supporting Documentation is not more important than any other part.
So, if you don’t have dozens of Professional Certificates, that’s okay. If you can’t find that report you wrote or that news article about you, don’t fret. If you’ve always been taught informally by your mentors and don’t have any documents at all, we can be creative with that. If you sold all your worldly possessions and trashed all your old documents in order to travel the country in an RV while running a business and raising kids, well, that’s a story we can’t wait to hear.
The bottom line is, if you do have a lot of Supporting Documentation, it can really help to make your case for your course challenge. But if you don’t have lots of documents, you can still do very well with your challenges. We understand that the paths students take through experiential learning might make Supporting Documentation difficult to locate. We have mechanisms in place that can help with that situation.
And furthermore, there are ways to generate new Supporting Documents that we’ll go over in the next section.