Australia: An overview of 20 years of research into the recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
KeywordsRecogniton of prior learning (RPL)
Informal, non formal and formal learning
Mature aged jobseekers
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
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AbstractAustralia introduced the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as part of a national training reform agenda that included the introduction of a competency-based vocational education and training system, a national qualification system and training packages. RPL is now a standard and requirement of any offering of accredited training that is embedded in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). As time has progressed and RPL policy and practice has evolved it has become more central to the vocational education and training (VET) sector than any other post-compulsory educational sector. RPL is also a growing activity outside the education sector, impacting on human capital and workforce development policy and initiatives. The Australian government’s current policies related to reforms in higher education, the social inclusion agenda (specifically in relation to education) and workforce development (including skilled migration) may see even greater impetus for RPL activity across educational sectors and within workplaces. In terms of research, there is a body of literature reporting on policy and implementation issues (drivers, benefits and barriers), case studies and a smaller sub-set of literature related to workplace skills recognition. New areas of research interest are emerging regarding building RPL practitioner capabilities and using Web 2.0 technologies and digital media. The RPL research community is small and very little of the RPL literature engages critically with the theoretical underpinnings of RPL. Nonetheless, a small number of commentators/researchers have identified gaps and directions for future research.