Policy development and implementation procedures for recognition of prior learning: a case study of practice in higher education
Pro-active stance of the DIT
The DIT was represented on the RPL Advisory Group by the author of this article who was subsequently appointed as RPL Policy Development Officer in the Directorate of Academic Affairs on an academic secondment basis. An RPL policy was to be developed and approved by Academic Council within one academic year and a two-year implementation plan to follow. The implementation plan was subsequently agreed as a key element of the Institute’s strategic vision and negotiated as an action in the overall two-year strategic development plan as summarised in Table 3
From the workplan it is clear that a key element is on-going briefings and consultation with both academic and administrative staff. Consensus was essential in negotiating changes to quality assurance procedures in relation to assessment, programme design and articulation of learning outcomes. Without such consensus the approved RPL policy could not be operationalised. Likewise formal training of staff was essential in relation to their immediate procedural or pedagogical needs. Clearly admissions and records staff had immediate need for clarity of procedures in relation to advanced entry, module exemptions and accumulation of credits. Academic staff had a range of needs related to programme design, assessment procedures, allocation of credits and noting of RPL decisions in the student record system. Additionally academic staff involved in partnerships with workplaces and regulated professions had immediate needs in relation to negotiating advanced entry and module exemptions for groups of learners and perhaps for work sectors.