FACILICODE (Facilitated Work Based Learning)
Dissipation of the FWBL methodology to innovative continuing professional development
Recognition of Prior Learning
RPL was considered an important element of FWBL because there is considerable informal and non-formal learning in enterprises and manufacturing companies as part of normal activities. RPL is essentially the process of giving value to an individual’s past learning for a number of possible purposes including the following:
- to formalise learning from work and life experiences in relation to standards of knowledge for occupational/professional qualifications
- to measure an individual’s past learning in relation to national or international frameworks of qualifications based on knowledge, skills and competences
- to enable an individual to progress their training and education by gaining access to higher or different awards and qualifications
- to enable an individual to enter a programme of study through assessment of experiential and work-based learning where certificates are not available
- to enable an individual to accumulate credits for non-formal and informal learning towards a related award
- to enable a worker to be more mobile across an occupational sector or across regions
- to enable occupational sectors to adapt their training and education more quickly and to respond to technological change, labour market needs, or regulatory requirements.
As national and EU training and education systems move towards harmonised qualifications frameworks through the European Qualifications Framework, the Bologna European Higher Education Area and through the European Credit for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET), employers and workers should expect these developments to work to their advantage.
RPL within credit and qualifications frameworks operates around three principal processes as follows:
- recognition of learning, whether formal, informal or non-formal, in relation to generally agreed standards of knowledge, skills and competence
- recognition of learning in relation to agreed levels and learning outcomes rather than in relation to years spent in learning or inputs to learners
- allocation of credit value at a particular level of learning using the European Credit Transfer System in higher education, and using ECVET in vocational training.
At the micro level of the individual engineer or employee in an engineering company, regardless of the size of the company, there is informal RPL used to identify training needs and targets. At the macro level of the national state and at the level of the EU, RPL is scaled up from the individual to identify the training needs of sectors of the labour market and the regulated professions. Strategies are devised to meet the training needs identified and funding is generally allocated to achieve them. Increasingly RPL is an element of these strategies where the main aim is to up-skill or re-skill sectors of the workforce and to make it possible for them to be mobile across the labour market and across borders. This macro view of RPL is now clearly evident in EU and OECD policy document with sectoral qualifications becoming increasingly significant. Research and development funding is increasingly available to ensure the quality of RPL and to maintain credibility and trust in its application.