Portfolio Development and Assessment

The Purdue Global Alternative Credit Center provides students an opportunity to earn credit from prior learning experiences. The portfolio serves as the basis for you to recognize your learning and understand how it aligns with college credit.

man working on laptop at a desk

Document Your Prior Experience for Credit

In our credit for work experience courses (EL206 and LRC100), you’ll document your prior experiences and explain what you gained from these experiences in formal learning statements.

Next, you’ll use a course-match model to map your learning statements to the learning outcomes of college-level courses offered by regionally or nationally accredited institutions.

To have your prior learning considered for credit, you must complete all requirements for the college course aligned with your prior learning and provide evidence of your learning and competency.

Academic Quality and Student Expectations

The portfolio development and assessment process is designed with the high level of academic rigor found at accredited higher learning institutions. There’s a strong emphasis on quality in the assessment process, which adheres to the Ten Standards for Quality Assurance in Assessing Learning, as set forth by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

Portfolio Evaluation Criteria

  • Applied Learning

    Explanation of Applied Learning

    • Can you apply what you have learned?
    • Have you provided real-life examples to explain how your college-level learning was applied?
  • College-Level Writing

    Evidence of College-Level Writing

    • Does your writing demonstrate skill and articulation at the college level?
    • Do you demonstrate critical and reflective thinking?
  • College-Level Learning

    Understanding of College-Level Learning

    Does your learning demonstrate problem-solving ability, depth and breadth of knowledge, and a balance between theory and practice?

  • Course Outcome

    Course Outcome Attainment

    • Have you satisfied all the course outcomes for the course?
    • Do you understand the concepts and theories generally covered in the course?
  • Documentation

    Documentation Alignment

    • Does your documentation align with the learning?
    • Does it provide evidence that you know and can do what you say? 

Sample Portfolios and FAQs

View sample portfolios and answers to frequently asked questions about the EL206 portfolio course.

EL206 Portfolio Development Timeline

Week 1: Experiential Learning and the Portfolio Process
Topic: Create your Portfolio and Assessment System (PDAS) account.

Week 2: Educational Goal Statement
Topic: Create your educational goal statement, which highlights goals for the course, your educational pursuits, and your career.

Week 3: Expanded Resume
Topic: Develop an expanded resume that includes experiential learning from your work, hobbies, volunteering, and interests.

Week 4: Course Explorer
Topic: Select courses that you can petition for college-level credit.

Week 5: Course Petitions
Topic: Create learning statements to specify how you met course outcomes through college-level learning.

Week 6: Course Petitions
Topic: Build the persuasive case to help demonstrate your learning for evaluators of course petitions.

Week 7: Learning Autobiography
Topic: Begin a draft of your personal narrative that showcases your skills, opportunities, and experiences related to the course petitions.

Weeks 8: Learning Autobiography
Topic: Finalize your learning autobiography.

Week 9: Supporting Documentation
Topic: Compile the documentation that offers evidence and credibility to support your learning claims.

Week 10: Plan to Submit Your Portfolio
Topic: Look ahead to submission of the portfolio, addendum requests from reviewers seeking further information, and how to appeal an evaluation.

EL206 and LRC100 Course Expectations

  • Academic Expectations
    • Demonstrate college-level writing skills in the portfolio.
    • Write an educational goal statement that describes your educational and career goals (approximately 200 to 400 words).
    • Create an expanded résumé that highlights experiences that resulted in experiential learning.
    • Write a learning autobiography that explains your experiential learning, how it was acquired, and how it has been applied (minimum of 1,000 words).
    • Select courses that would fulfill degree requirements to petition for experiential credit.
    • Develop at least two course petitions for courses that match their experiential learning.
    • Include the course outcomes for each course petition.
    • Include at least one source of learning for each course petition.
    • Develop 10 to 20 learning statements for each course petition.
    • Obtain course outcomes for each course for which a petition is developed.
    • Request course outcomes needed from other institutions.
    • Provide at least two pieces of supporting documentation for each course petition that proves you have acquired the college-level learning you claim.

    If you are enrolled in EL206, you have these additional expectations:

    • Develop the majority of your portfolio during the course.
    • Continue to work on your portfolio during the 30-day submission window that occurs after EL206 ends; this may overlap with your courses in the next term.
    • Submit your portfolio within the 30-day submission window
  • Student Expectations
    • Communicate with your course instructor or Assessment Advisor about all course content, assignments, and projects.
    • Contact your Assessment Advisor for assistance with your portfolio and the Portfolio Development and Assessment System (PDAS). Note: Assessment Advisors will respond to telephone and email messages within 24 to 48 business hours.
    • Communicate regularly with your instructor and Assessment Advisor about any concerns they may have.
    • Communicate with the Office of Student Support for regular degree-planning questions such as next-term registration and/or major and elective requirements.
    • Work with your Assessment Advisor and the Office of Student Support to understand your degree plan, degree requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Academic Prior Learning Portfolio Course

  • What are the benefits for students?

    More than 2,800 of our students have completed the portfolio development course, EL206.*

    On average, students have benefited from the following:

    • Nearly $11,000 savings in tuition
    • 33 quarter credits toward their degree
    • About 3.5 terms saved on their degrees
  • What is the purpose of the EL206 course?
    • Petition for undergraduate credits for learning you have acquired outside of a college classroom.
    • Collect your previously earned credits (college transcripts, standardized exams, pre-evaluated learning, etc.).
    • Organize any learning not yet credited.
    • Assess what you already know, what you have college credit for, and what your goals are.
    • Build a portfolio that catalogs experiential learning from your work, volunteering, travels, etc.
  • Is the EL206 course right for me?

    If you have college-level learning outside of the classroom and you can describe and provide independent documentation of it, EL206 may be right for you.

  • How does the process work?

    LRC100 Process

    Once enrolled in the self-paced LRC100 course, you will build a portfolio documenting your work and life experiences for review by experienced faculty advisors who are qualified to assess portfolios and recommend credit.

    EL206 Process

    • You speak with an Assessment Advisor prior to registering for the course. The role of the Assessment Advisor is to help you determine if the course is the right fit. This includes exploring the college-level learning from your work and life experiences and seeing how that learning could translate into your degree plan. The Assessment Advising Team can be reached toll free at 855-791-7106 or portfoliodevelopment@purdueglobal.edu.
    • Once enrolled, you will demonstrate your college-level knowledge to an instructor who will guide you through the process of documenting your mastery of one or more college courses.
    • You will build a portfolio documenting your work and life experiences for review by experienced instructors qualified to judge portfolios and recommend credit. Grading is on a credit/no-credit basis, and appears as “EC” on transcripts. EL206 is a pass/fail course; letter grades are not assigned. Passing this course will not affect your GPA, but failing the course will.
    • You will also earn 6 credits for EL206 by passing the course.
  • Will I have to do this on my own?
    • No. Instructors with experience in prior learning assessment and writing provide feedback every step of the way.
    • Our dedicated advisors are available to help answer your questions about the portfolio process and provide technical support. The Assessment Advising Team can be reached toll free at 855-791-7106 or portfoliodevelopment@purdueglobal.edu.
  • For which courses may I earn credit?


    • Most undergraduate courses from regionally or nationally accredited institutions are eligible for credit. You must be able to demonstrate that you have acquired the knowledge taught in each course.
    • These courses do not have to be offered at Purdue Global, and LRC100 offers a search tool to help you research other institutions’ courses.


    • You may earn credit for most undergraduate courses at Purdue Global. You must be able to demonstrate that you have acquired the knowledge taught in each course.

    View a list of courses ineligible for credit.

  • How long will the course take?
    • One 10-week term, followed by a 30-day period in which to submit a portfolio for review. Results will arrive 4 to 6 weeks after you submit your portfolio.
    • The Prior Learning Assessment Center at Purdue Global is responsible for transcribing recommended experiential credits to your degree plan. Please allow 15 business days from the date of receipt of the credit recommendation letter for the experiential credit to appear on your degree plan.
  • How much does the course cost?


    There is no tuition charge to take the course. The course fee is $1,500.00 and covers the evaluation of the portfolio you submit as part of the development/assessment process.


    There are two financial components:

    • Course tuition is charged at the standard rate (6 quarter credit hours). Because EL206 counts as an “open elective” in your degree plan, tuition may be covered by financial aid for those who qualify.
    • The risk-free course fee is $1,500 and covers the evaluation of the portfolio you submit for development/assessment. You will pay $750 at the term’s start and the remaining $750 when you submit your portfolio for evaluation. The nonrefundable course fee may be covered by financial aid for those who qualify. Ask a Financial Aid Officer for details.
  • How is the $1,500 course fee risk-free?

    If your portfolio earns credits valued below the $1,500 assessment fee, you will receive a tuition grant equal to the difference toward the next term of your degree (up to the entire $1,500). Terms and conditions apply.

  • Is submitting a portfolio for one course worth it?


    • Yes. You could earn as many as 6 quarter credit hours by submitting a portfolio for just one course.


    • Yes. You could earn as many as 12 quarter credit hours: 6 for EL206 and up to 6 for the course documented in the portfolio.
    • By completing and passing EL206, you’ll earn 6 quarter credit hours. This could save you money toward your Purdue Global degree.
  • What if I choose not to submit a portfolio?

    If you choose not to submit a portfolio, that's okay. Your portfolio work will be available for you in LRC100 for a later date, or you can have your work moved over to EL206 and submit your portfolio for assessment there.

    If you complete the EL206 portfolio development course and choose not to submit your portfolio for official review, you will only pay the initial $750, which is nonrefundable.

  • Can I earn credits without submitting a portfolio?

    Yes. You’ll earn 6 quarter credit hours for completing EL206 and you’ll have a portfolio of your learning experiences to share with present or future employers. However, that portfolio will not be reviewed by the University for college credit.

Your Path To Success Begins Here

Connect with an Advisor to explore program requirements, curriculum, credit for prior learning process, and financial aid options.


*Work/Life Experience Credit Savings: In 2021–2022, incoming Purdue Global students who passed EL206 and submitted a portfolio for evaluation earned an average of 33 quarter credit hours toward their Purdue Global undergraduate degrees. Based on these experiential learning credits, tuition savings for nonmilitary students were on average $10,743.00. Tuition savings calculated as 33 quarter credit hours x standard tuition rate of $371.00 = $12,243.00 - $1,500.00 course fee = $10,743.00. Savings for students vary depending on the student's individual prior learning experience. Savings for 2021–2022 incoming Indiana students who passed EL206 and submitted a portfolio for review were $9,700.00. Savings for 2021–2022 incoming military students who passed EL206 and submitted a portfolio for review ranged from $3,945.00 to $6,090.00. Eligible college credits articulate into Purdue Global undergraduate degree plans. Savings dependent on credit awards, which are dependent on individual circumstances. See University Catalog for Prior Learning policy. See www.purdueglobal.edu/tuition-financial-aid/undergraduate-graduate-tuition-and-fees/ for course fee refund policy. Source: Purdue Global School of General Studies, October 2022. 2021–2022 academic year.