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Policy development and implementation procedures for recognition of prior learning: a case study of practice in higher education


Author - Anne Murphy



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This article investigates how higher education (HE) experts and training stakeholders perceive the use and value of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in responding to changing learner profiles in the context of increasing economic difficulties globally and their resulting impact on employment, the labour market and education and training systems. The data were gathered as an element of the author’s doctoral research. The immediate research context was shaped by a rich policy discourse on social inclusion, mobility, organisational development, personal development, up-skilling and re-skilling in the labour market, and economic regeneration. A Delphi survey was undertaken to gather data on the possible future use and benefits of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in this context. The survey sought the opinions of twenty-two national and international experts from higher education, work-based learning, in-company training, professional bodies, further education, and continuing professional development on the specific advantages and potential usages of RPL to companies and organisations. Analysis of the data found three main areas of divergence and ambiguity, namely: higher education and the recognition of qualifications; higher education and mobility; and higher education and up-skilling and re-skilling. The main findings are presented and discussed below.

Key words: APEL; continuing professional development; credits; levels; informal and non-formal learning; learning outcomes; recognition of prior learning/RPL.

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