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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Recap

16 - February - 2021

“Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” - Brian Tracy

We’re pretty sure this quote wasn’t written directly about RPL, but the sentiment remains. 

Experience is invaluable, no matter how it’s earned. Be it through formal education, work experience or life skills, once you’ve learned something through experience, it’s moved you forward.

Here, we discuss how RPL allows learners to use their existing experience, skills and knowledge to gain credit and lessen the amount of time required to complete qualifications.

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a method that acknowledges skills acquired through formal, informal or non-formal learning; including courses in vocational education, higher education, and work and life experiences.

It is an assessment process of a learner's existing skills, knowledge and experience that will enable them to receive credit for units of competency in lieu of study time.

In a nutshell, learners who receive RPL will earn their qualification without the need to re-learn what they’ve already learnt.RPL

Who Can Receive RPL?

Eligibility depends on a few things.

Namely, learners will have to answer some basic questions about their work experience and qualifications, but it will ultimately depend on what industry they're in and which formal/informal learning experiences are relevant to the qualification or units they wish to study.

The RPL Process

Though the policies remain the same, each training provider will have their own RPL process.

The AQF’s policy states that training providers must provide a transparent and accessible process that considers every learner fairly.

A self-assessment form will be required that details all relevant work experience and qualifications completed. This can be completed online, with all supporting documents being uploaded and submitted to the RPL assessor.

Prior Learning Recognition

A range of documentation may be used to apply for RPL, and covers formal, informal and non-formal learning.

Assessment methods should allow for reasonable adjustments to be made that consider the literacy level, cultural background and experience of the learner, and should not be used to evaluate skills such as literacy, except when they are essential to the learning outcomes of the qualification.

Credit Transfer

Credit transfer is the process of recognising a learner's previous formal study and giving them credit for the equivalent components of the new qualification.

This means that the learner won't have to study or pay for these units again.

How to Apply For a Credit Transfer

There are different forms depending on the type of study being undertaken: Vocational Education and Higher Education.

Each of these will require evidence and supporting documentation of the study completed.

While the AQF does provide guidance regarding the credit given for RPL, the final decision will be negotiated between the learner and the training provider. It is also important to note that all formal qualifications must be relevant to the course being applied for.

What Does ASQA Say?

ASQA’s Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 state that training providers are required to recognise prior learning of individual learners, unless the requirements of the training package or licensing requirements prevent this.

A typical RPL process for training providers includes the following stages:

RPLTo read about how one training provider used Cloud Assess to create a compliant and cutting edge RPL process, click here.

What this means for Learners and Training Providers

The benefits for learners to undertake the process of applying for RPL are many.

Not only does it shorten the amount of time required to earn a qualification but it allows learners to become eligible for courses that they may not have the required formal qualifications for.

This will be an especially attractive option for those learners who are spread thin and looking to save time (and money!).

Communicating your RPL application process and making it as clear and straightforward as possible may be enough to set your organisation ahead of the rest.