We got an assignment last night. We have to do a "chronolog" of everything we've done since high school that might translate into collegiate learning categories. But, I just got to thinking ... this is a useful exercise in reflection and self-evaluation anyway. Even if a person weren't using it for school, it would be a useful thing to do.
You make a spread sheet sort of format, with the first column being the year in which you had some sort of experience, then you have a column saying where this happened, and then a column saying what it was. So, the first three columns take up only about 2/3 of the page's width, and then the last third or so is the final column. "Skills and Learning" - the results of your experiences. It could be things like 1980 --- Anchorage, Alaska --- Started backpacker's hostel -- and then bulleted skills all listed in the last column. Things like Conflict Management and Cookery for Crowds.
When you sit and think about it, there are lots and lots of possible learning "outcomes" to any experience. You spent a summer as a camp counselor? Well, maybe you learned that teenagers are just as fragile as eight-year-olds and you got a little first-hand practical Psychology of Development in Adolescents. Or, maybe you learned that you really deeply abhor sleeping in a sleeping bag, slapping mosquitoes, and eating in a cafeteria -- so ... um ... what would that be, I wonder? Values Clarification maybe?
Anyway, for many, many years, academia has proposed to teach students about the world, and then expected the students to go out into the world and use what they have learned. The Prior Learning Assessment way of doing things is to take what's been going on out in the world, and translate it into academia's language and documentation. The learning becomes re-contextualized -- and this makes it possible to award collegiate credits for the things people know and can articulate.
But what about people not in this course of study? I'm finding the chronolog to be a very useful meditation and memory tool, regardless of the intended final use for the thing. Every once in awhile, I think I should do this exercise.
Where were you?
What were you doing?
What did you learn? What can you do now, learned through that time?
Interesting exercise, don't you think?