Evaluating students’ progress is a crucial part of the RN/BSN and BGS/OPD students’ learning process since it allows inferring the future course of development. However, the effects of implementing prior learning assessments (PLAs) are yet to be discovered. Therefore, the study by Lee and Dapermont (2020), who consider the extent of students’ satisfaction with the PLA deployment, is critical. The article is aimed at determining the extent of satisfaction with the application of PLA in students. A survey with a sample of 145 RN/BSN participants was used in the study to evaluate the degree of satisfaction with PLA in graduates (Lee & Dapermont, 2020). According to the results of the research, most students characterized the application of PLA as the strategy allowing for greater flexibility and a more affordable assessment process, which is why the general level of satisfaction was reported as very high.
The phenomenon of a PLA has been added to the set of academic evaluation tools in the RN/BSN context comparatively recently, yet it has already become a popular framework for the assessment of students’ knowledge. According to Yancey (2016), a PLA can be defined as “a series of practices through which students’ learning acquired outside accredited colleges is assessed for, and can be awarded, college credit” (p. 85). Therefore, a PLA embraces students’ knowledge as a system and offers insights into the gaps in it. Thus, opportunities for filling these gaps and delineating the further path for development are created with the help of PLAs based on students’ prior background knowledge. The specified characteristic of a PLA as a tool for building upon the existing knowledge framework and systematizing it is central to the academic and professional growth of learners.
Evaluating PLAs from a personal perspective, one may conclude that they are instrumental in creating a continuously expanding knowledge system. The inclusion of PLAs into the curriculum allows personalizing it and provides each student with an opportunity to structure their professional development path, simultaneously learning the foundational information (Lee & Dapermont, 2020). The application of PLAs to the learning process serves as the tool for transitioning to the lifelong learning process. In addition, PLAs should be appreciated for the vast range of opportunities that they provide o students from underserviced backgrounds (Lee & Dapermont, 2020). Overall, PLAs seem to be extraordinarily useful in promoting equal learning opportunities among students and encouraging the active development of professional skills in their further careers. Thus, the very notion of a PLA as the starting point for creating lifelong learning and development opportunities seems to be particularly appealing.
The inclusion of PLAs into the BGS/OPD education context might seem questionable from a practical perspective, yet it proves to be essential in the long term. First, the role that PLAs play in the professional development of BGS/OPD students needs to be addressed. Since the nursing field is constantly evolving and being enriched with new strategies and tools for improving the management of patients’ needs, continuous learning becomes instrumental for nurses. In turn, the PLA framework encourages lifelong learning and the active acquisition of new professional skills (Lee & Dapermont, 2020). Moreover, the inclusion of PLAs into the BGS/OPD education will provide a chance for each student to develop their nursing philosophy and approach, which is critical for the quality of services that they will provide in the target community (Rust & Ikard, 2016). Therefore, to improve education and public health, one should consider incorporating PLAs into the BGS/OPD education process.
Lee, S., & Dapremont, J. (2020). Prior learning assessment in nursing: An accelerated pathway to degree completion. The Research Journal of the National League for Nursing, 41(3), 180-182. Web.
Rust, D. Z., & Ikard, W. L. (2016). Prior learning assessment portfolio completion: Improved outcomes at a public institution. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 64(2), 94. Web.
Yancey, K. (Ed.). (2016). Rhetoric of reflection. University Press of Colorado.