23 Types of Documentation and How To Present Them

Your documentation should, of course, relate to the Learning Outcomes and competencies of the courses you’re challenging.

When you start thinking of possibilities, keep this key factor in mind: your portfolio needs to display college-level learning. When choosing your documents, think about the level of thinking they demonstrate. Refer back to Chapter 1 and Bloom’s Taxonomy, and make sure your document shows you working in those higher levels of thinking styles (apply, analyze, evaluate, create).

Asking, “Does this demonstrate college-level learning in some way, either directly or through the end result of a process?” is a good way to determine if you should include a document or not.

That said, the BAS/IPS Program takes a wide view of what counts as documentation, and are open to many kinds of evidence, including:

  • Samples of your work
  • Documentation of job skills, including evaluations.
  • Letters of Recommendation from employers or others who have firsthand knowledge of your abilities or skills
  • Descriptions of requirements for obtaining licenses and/or certificates
  • Scanned licenses or certificates
  • Video clips or streaming video showing a skill, ability, or item produced
  • Audio recordings demonstrating an ability or skill
  • Thank You notes and emails from clients, students, co-workers, etc.
  • Website links
  • Certificates of attendance at conferences or trainings
  • Pictures of your notes taken in training courses
  • PowerPoint or other slides from presentations you’ve given
  • Transcripts from other schools
  • An annotated bibliography of books you’ve read for self-study, with short notes on what you learned in each book
  • Proof of membership in professional or trade organizations
  • Any other material agreed upon with your PLA seminar instructor that offers proof of your college-level learning
  • Newspaper articles featuring you in your profession
  • Documents you created for work, like PowerPoint presentations, reports, bids, safety checks, etc.
  • YouTube videos produced
  • Performance Evaluations from work
  • Portfolios of artistic work
  • Certificate/Thank you for volunteer work
  • Photographs of you doing work related to the course topic
  • Business plans
  • Marketing materials you produced for work
  • Entrepreneurial materials (for example, a student who owned a restaurant submitted her menu as a Supporting Document, explaining how it was created as an act of teamwork and innovation in collaboration with her staff and a focus group of customers)
  • Business reports
  • Manuals or Policies for the workplace you wrote/contributed to
  • Blog posts you wrote for professional reasons or well-written and intellectually-engaging personal blog posts
  • A List of personal reading/research/enrichment you’ve done to better your work (list of books you’ve read or presented on, participation in book discussion for professional reasons, etc.)
  • Pictures of trophies/plaques
  • Pictures of you with constituencies you work with/help/volunteer with that pertain to the course topic

Giving Context and Clarification to Supporting Documentations

In your IPS 301 Course Folder, you’ll find an interior folder titled “Supporting Documentation.” Within that there will be two pre-loaded Google Docs. One is to help you with brainstorming and locating your documents. The other, titled “Supporting Documentation Table of Contents,” is a very important document that provides context to your Supporting Documentation.

When you add documents to your folder, remember: your reviewer doesn’t know anything about your life!

A picture of you holding a clipboard in front of a truck with a construction site behind you might seem to be obviously showing teamwork because of the people collaborating on the worksite, or even safety, with the checklist that’s on that clipboard. But your reviewer has no idea about any of that.

So the best way to present your documents is to use the Supporting Documentation Table of Contents in your folder. It’s very simple! Just title each Supporting Document you upload to the folder, and then list that same title on the Table of Contents. Then give your faculty reviewer a very short note about the document, to explain why you’re including it in your Portfolio. Your short explanation should link to course Learning Objectives or elements of the challenge course you see the document addressing and proving that you know.

To use the earlier example, you could write a descriptive note for that photograph saying, “Routine daily safety check at worksite.” Then the reviewer knows what that picture fulfills regarding the course challenge.

Use the Table of Contents for each and every one of your Supporting Documentation entries to fill in any gaps and answer any questions for your reviewer before they even have to ask them. Make it very obvious for your reviewer what you think the Documentation is adding to your course challenge.


This chapter contains material taken from “PLA 200: Introduction to Portfolio Development, Module 5, Lesson 5” by Center for the Assessment of Learning and Terry Hoffmann licensed under CC BY 4.0.


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