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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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Who needs to know what about RPL?

As a result of policy development and implementation experiences it is clear that there are varying ‘need to know’ levels across academic, management and administrative staff. The RPL policy and practice guide for staff 2010 offers an indication of ‘who needs to know what’, as indicated in the example in Table 7 below.

RPL scholarship

As mentioned earlier in this article, the scholarship of RPL/APEL is a growing field of academic research interest. The processes of RPL can be unsettling for traditional academic staff who have little or no involvement with professional development or work-related learning. Indeed, there is a growing scholarship which is critical of the trend towards overly-technicist, outcomes-based learning where only particular learning is valued and rewarded, particularly if there is an over-emphasis in policy on human capital models at the expense of social and cultural capital. Tensions in beliefs about legitimate forms of knowledge are inevitable across higher education traditions. RPL can sometimes be the site where such tensions become public. In such contexts there is merit in facilitating expressions of concern and making divergence of opinion explicit without an adversarial culture of competing tribes and territories.

RPL can impact on norms of curriculum design and relationships with external stakeholders. In this regard it is essential that staff have sufficient time and space to consider the impact of RPL on their personal and institutional practices in the same way as developments in learning and teaching generally are managed.

With this in mind, DIT staff are encouraged to make use of the RPL scholarship resources available in Schools and on the staff intranet and to participate in the continuing professional development programme about RPL policies, procedures and pedagogies.


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