Policy development and implementation procedures for recognition of prior learning: a case study of practice in higher education
Embedding RPL in Module Descriptors
In line with the technical requirement of the NQF, the EQF-LL and EHEA, the DIT now uses modular programme design with sets of programme learning outcomes and module learning outcomes for its awards. The RPL augmentation to the module template involved 30 words, as highlighted in Table 6 below. These 30 words have been a significant technical catalyst in provoking academic discourse.
RPL for up-skilling and re-skilling in the workplace
One of the key expectations of RPL is that it will contribute to efficiencies and quality in the labour market by enabling more focused training and up-skilling pathways. As with other aspects of RPL, the DIT has found that expressed needs and local practices precede policy in this regard. Companies, professional bodies and sectors tend to find solutions to their own problems, often in negotiation with education and training providers. Devising an RPL strategy in a vacuum, without realworld problems has not tended to be sustainable. Nonetheless it behoves us as providers and awarding bodies to visualise such a scenario so that responses are not invented newly for each and every situation. Figure 5 below is a ‘vision’ of RPL for DIT-company responses to labour force needs developed as an element of the EU Project: Facilicode (facilitated work-based learning) in which the DIT is a partner.
At the curriculum and pedagogical design level it was clear that an overall ‘vision’ of how an RPL and work-based learning contract model might operate in reality. With this in mind, a collective of academic staff contributed to the model illustrated in Figure 6 below. This model illustrates how an experienced practitioner seeking a specific higher education award which takes account of prior learning might go about negotiating a learning contract to achieve the learning outcomes of the award. This model is ideal for a progression pathway to the next level up on the national framework in question. It also illustrates how prior learning can be integrated in a meaningful way into a pedagogical design in real time. The model is now being used in a number of professional development contexts in the DIT particularly for sectors and regulated professions.