20 Types of Documentation

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

That said, the BAS/MDS 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
  • Media coverage highlighting your expertise or knowledge
  • Audio recordings demonstrating an ability or skill
  • Thank You notes/emails from clients, students, co-workers, etc.
  • Web site links
  • Certificates of attendance and notes taken in training courses
  • Transcripts
  • An annotated bibliography
  • 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

As noted earlier, many Prior Learning students don’t have reams of Supporting Documentation available, and that is acceptable since this component of the portfolio can be bolstered by the other components.

However, you can generate some Supporting Documentation for your portfolio by obtaining Letters of Recommendation.

You can get Letters of Recommendation from a current or former employer, a customer, a co-worker, or some other person who can provide supporting evidence. The letters need not be formalized or on official letterhead, if those are a barrier to you getting them. We’ve had students use emails as letters of recommendation.

If you will be using Letters of Recommendaiton, ask for them as far in advance as you can. Usually you’ll need to include the following in your request for a letter:

  • A greeting and an explanation of why you are writing the letter
  • A brief description of your participation in the Prior Learning Seminar, including a brief explanation of what it is
  • An outline of what the person’s letter should include, such as:
    • A statement about their relationship to you,
    • A statement about the time period of your relationship,
    • A statement about the duties you performed
    • An evaluation of your level of performance
    • Any other comments that will support your claims
  • An up-to-date résumé or any updates on your experience


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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