PLA Guide: Management

How to Use this Guide

This guide is meant to help you understand the knowledge and skills typically expected of someone who has a college-level understanding of Management.

This guide is also meant to help you go through the processes of thinking about your learning and writing your Prior Learning Request by answering the following questions, which will be explained more fully in the section Writing your PLA Request:

  1. Describe what you do.
  2. Compare a real and hypothetical situation in this field.
  3. Identify informal “rules” in this field.
  4. Examine the role of a professional in this field.
  5. Apply your knowledge in a problem-solving situation.
  6. Identify critical issues in the field.
  7. Teach others.
  8. Offer additional information or evidence of your learning.


Typical Learning Experiences

The following list is not all inclusive; you may have learned in other ways.



What is Management?

Managers’ primary functions include planning, organizing, leading, controlling, and coordinating.  Along with these, managers are expected to demonstrate communication, interpersonal, decision-making, and/or financial skills.  At a lower level students are not expected to have competencies in all these areas but are expected to have a minimal awareness of these practices. 

Students seeking advanced level credits would have deep and long term knowledge in most, if not all, of these areas.


The diagram below identifies many aspects of learning in this field.  Your learning may fall within some areas and not others, based on your personal experience, and that’s okay.  You can consult other guides or use the general guide, if they are more appropriate to your learning.





Writing Your PLA Request

Please answer the questions below to the best of your ability. 

  1. Please respond to the following:
    1. What were/are the positions that you have held which relate to this PLA?
    2. Briefly describe what did you do in those positions?
    3. What was the length of time you held each position?
  1. Considering the management functions presented in the diagram: planning, organizing, leading, coordinating, controlling:
    1. Please provide examples of tasks your performed that you think fall under these broad functions of management
    2. What training, if any, did you receive to perform these management functions?
    3. What reading, self development or other experiences have helped develop your management knowledge or skills?
  1. Based on the tasks you discussed above, select two tasks :
    1. How did you perform these tasks?
    2. Why were those tasks important to the organization?
  1. Pick a management situation you encountered or one offered below:
  • Dealing with interpersonal conflict between team members
  • Deciding on a fair allocation of resources
  • Meeting conflicting commitments or schedules
  1. Briefly describe your role
  2. What was the result?
  3. What did you learn from that situation? 
  4. How did/could you apply that learning to another situation (e.g., at the same workplace or somewhere else)?


  1. Describe the skills and characteristics of a effective manager.
  1. Based on your learning about management, what are some typical challenges managers face and how do they overcome them?
  1. Respond to this common management situation:  Two members of your team are not collaborating effectively.  Describe some possible solutions/recommendation that you can address independently.
  1. Consider this scenario:  You’ve been asked to talk with an employee who is about to move into a management position. What management lessons have you learned that you consider critical to share with this individual?
  1. Offer any additional information or thoughts on this topic that you would like to discuss as part of your PLA evaluation.

Information to Help You Decide Credit Specifications for Your Request

College-level learning means that you can talk about what you know in some detail, come up with some general insights and “rules” about the topic, and apply those insights and rules to new situations.

  • Introductory/Advanced: Management typically is introductory; Students seeking advanced level credit should explore titles such as Advanced Supervision, Program Management, Project Management, Line/Operations Management that imply greater scope and scale.
  • Liberal/Non-Liberal: Management typically is Non-Liberal.
  • General Education: Management typically does not fulfill any General Education area.

Number of Credits
To determine the number of credits to request, think about your experience using this guide. If you answered most of the questions easily, and feel that you can confidently discuss areas related to this topic, you may want to request 3-4 credits, which is the equivalent of one college course.  After your discussion, your evaluator will have the opportunity to recommend fewer or more credits based on his/her evaluation of your learning.

Level of Credits
To determine the level of your request think about your comfort level answering the questions. Did you feel confident answering the questions that asked you to interpret, analyze, compare, or generalize? Reflect on your learning in light of the information below to help you determine whether to request introductory or advanced-level credit. If you aren’t sure, discuss this with your mentor.

Introductory college-level learning (freshman/sophomore) means that you understand:

  • Basic concepts, theories, and principles of a topic.

Advanced college-level learning (junior/senior level) means that you understand the topic more broadly and deeply.  You may understand:

  • What the broader field is about, based on your experience.
  • Why something is done in a certain way.
  • What you, yourself, think about the topic or field, as a result of blending others’ perspectives with your own understanding and judgment.
  • How to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information more abstractly, applying methods usually used in that field.

Examples of General PLA Topics and Level of Learning


PLA Topic  – Building

PLA Topic  – Project  Management

PLA Topic – Spanish Culture

NOT college –level

Know how to put up wallboard

Work to complete items on a checklist given to you

Traveled in Spain twice, for two weeks each time

Intro. college-level

Understand why walls are constructed a certain way

Create a timeline and supervise the completion of tasks

Understand trends and practices related to daily life, holidays, food, religion, etc.  Understand some Spanish history related to contemporary attitudes and practices

Advanced college level

Intro level plus:

Understand how to design a building so the walls stay up

Intro level plus:

Work to create cooperation of all parties concerned with the project; analyze problems or issues and amend the plan; evaluate the outcome of the project

Intro. level plus:

Understand nuances related to attitudes and practices.  Know of and understand sub-groups within the overall culture.  Understand more fully Spanish history related to contemporary attitudes and practices.