PEARL 2013: Learning Agents

Left to right: Don Presant (Learning Agents) and D'Arcy Phillips (MPLAN)

The MPLAN PEARL Award is given for the Pursuit of Excellence in the Assessment and Recognition of prior Learning. (More about the PEARL Award)

Background for this Award

Learning Agents is a small, Winnipeg-based producer of solutions for learning in the field of Adult Education. Its clients include relevant provincial and federal government departments, postsecondary institutions, sector councils and NGO’s. The Principal of Learning Agents is Mr. Don Presant.

Pursuit of Excellence

Learning Agents has done innovative and groundbreaking work in two areas:

  • Access to creating enhanced ePortfolios*
  • A unique RPL-related website

In addition to bringing forward these innovations, Learning Agents has worked successfully with different Manitoba Government departments, to establish public, community-based access to these important new RPL tools. Finally, Learning Agents has been a model of collegial sharing. It has shared its findings as well as news on the latest RPL developments with others in the field of RPL at conferences in Manitoba, in other provinces, and abroad.

Results Achieved

Learning Agents has done important and often groundbreaking work on enhancing both the content of and (with ongoing funding from the provincial government) access to the creation of ePortfolios in this province. In addition it has created and established, again with funding from the Manitoba government, a widely used, (hundreds of thousands of page visits) innovative and invaluable RPL-related website for recent immigrants. Finally it has shared its findings across this country and abroad and in so doing has enhanced Manitoba’s profile as a centre for world class innovation and achievement in the Recognition of Prior Learning and our reputation as a centre of excellence for RPL.

*Q: ePortfolios - What are they, exactly?

A: They are digital documents that often look like simple websites to their audiences. They generally have one or more web pages containing text, links to a resume or letters of recommendation, images, audio or video clips, slide presentations, etc. Creating an e-portfolio is that inward looking formative step of identifying and describing and/or demonstrating that specific part of our learning that we want others to recognise. Once the e-portfolio it is created, it becomes a summative document that can be sent to prospective employers or licensing bodies etc. to open the door to the next step - often an interview.

Note: Some ePortfolios contain video elements that simultaneously describe and quickly demonstrate the knowledge and skills of the learner (e.g. English language skills, communicative ability, presentation skills) within a minute or so and in so doing allow the gatekeeper to make an informed decision on whether to invest more time and effort with the applicant.