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While courses provide students with a familiar learning environment, Metropolitan State also encourages students to seek a variety of creative learning strategies. To explore these unique ways of gaining college credit, the College of Individualized Studies offers working labs for prior learning assessment and student-directed learning. Creative learning strategies include prior learning evaluation, theory seminars, independent studies, online learning and internships.

Types of Learning Strategies

Experiential and Student Directed Learning

Builds upon a student's prior knowledge, or provides a way to incorporate experiential learning into future goals.

Registration deadline for PLA and SDIS for students using financial aid is before the date of disbursment for each semester. Students not using financial aid may register later in the semester; see the academic calendar for the date under "Last day to register for alternative learning strategies."

Alternative Learning

Provides alternative learning environments such as a variety of web-based courses and faculty or student directed courses.

For information and support:

  • Register for the one-credit course METR 100, Getting Credit for What You Know, which is offered each semester. See Class Schedule.
  • Contact the College of Individualized Studies.
  • Attend a "Get Started Lab" on prior learning assessment (PLA) and student-directed learning (SDL):

    • Tuesday, May 19, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, St. Johns Hall Rm. 250, St. Paul
    • Wednesday, June 24, 4-5 pm, Midway Campus, Room 140
    • Thursday, July 16, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, St. Johns Hall Rm. 250
    • Tuesday, July 28, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, St. Johns Hall Rm. 250
    • Tuesday, Aug. 4, 11:30-12:30 pm, St. Johns Hall Rm. 250
    • Thursday, Aug. 20, 4:30-5:30 pm, St. Johns Hall, Rm. 250

The lab is a place to get help to identify a proposed PLA/SDL subject area and develop a competence description or statement, identify a prospective evaluator and develop a Registration Proposal Form for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or Student-Designed Independent Study (SDIS).

Students should be planning to complete an individualized degree, and know how the learning will be used in their degree plan.  Preferably, students should have completed or be in Perspectives or Metro 100 before attending the lab. 

Email your RSVP to Marcia Anderson, SDL Advisor in the College of Individualized Studies. Send your student ID number and a day phone number. Also, send your draft competence description(s) or proposal(s) in advance, if possible, or the subject areas you have in mind.

For more information, email or call 651-793-1772/1782. To request accommodations for a disability, call 651-793-1549 or 651-772-7687 (TTY)

To Identify PLS/SDL Faculty Evaluators, students may ask faculty to serve as consultants in developing proposals for prior learning assessment (PLA) or student-directed learning (SDL).

Assessment and evaluation of PLA and SDL must be done by approved university faculty evaluators, and student must be registered.

Get a referral to a faculty evaluator by contacting a department chair person related to your subject area, or by contacting Marcia Anderson.

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