Equity, Efficacy, and Quality: Complete Florida’s Prior Learning Access Network (PLAN)


Complete Florida (CF) is a legislative initiative established in 2014 with a mandate to improve adult learner post-secondary degree completion through innovative strategies, partnerships, and programs, where students pursue online degree and certificate programs offered by partner institutions. The Prior Learning Access Network (PLAN) will expand research on the importance of proactive, personal student advising (personal coaches), and its importance in improving equitable access to PLA. PLAN will strengthen CF coaches’ understanding of the parameters and feasibility of alternative credit allocation based on each student’s unique background and each institution’s program offerings and processes.

Key research questions include:

  1. As a centralized entity offering capacity building training and student support, how can Complete Florida assist in strengthening equitable student access to PLA programs and services at partner institutions?
  2. What are the current institutional and state-level process and policies on PLA at each of the five partner institutions?
  3. How equitable and effective are PLA options for students at participating institutions?
  4. How do partner institutions measure and assure the quality of PLA programs?


The goal of PLAN is to build a multi-institutional study consisting of five Florida community colleges that are in currently in CF and/or outside of CF network. This research/evaluation design will employ a mixed-method convergent parallel research design, using data from both administrators and students at participating institutions.



University of West Florida Research Team: Giang-Nguyen T. Nguyen, Michelle Horton, Carla Thompson, Monica Vandenberg, Rashmi Sharma