Our work on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) was part of the approach to widening participation in higher education institutions (HEIs) in Scotland. RPL can help make higher education more accessible to non-traditional learners, encourage different forms of flexible learning paths and engage a more diverse student body.


National Framework for Scottish Higher Education


QAA Scotland worked with the higher education sector to develop the National Framework for RPL. The key purposes of the Framework are to:

  • expand and embed RPL to a much wider extent in the higher education sector 
  • raise awareness of and increase transparency of RPL processes for staff and students.
  • reduce inconsistencies in RPL processes between and within HEIs 
  • allow HEIs and other organisations to share and develop practice in RPL in a consistent and sustainable manner.

Recognition of Prior Learning - Framework for Scottish HE

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

QAA Scotland and Universities Scotland RPL Higher Education Network worked with Scottish higher education institutions to develop a National Framework for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 157 KB

Recognition of Prior Learning Toolkit


The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) toolkit, developed in 2014, is based around the Viewpoints method, a project led by the University of Ulster. The toolkit offers staff and students a practical way to develop RPL initiatives.


The resource consists of a sets of three cards, which you can use in a variety of workshop sessions. Each set deals with a different part of the RPL implementation process:

  • Developing understanding about and engagement with RPL
  • Departmental preparation and planning for RPL provision
  • Implementing RPL in programmes

The accompanying toolkit handbook explains the method behind the toolkit and gives valuable guidance about how to use it.


Recognition of Prior Learning Toolkit Handbook

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

A toolkit to support departments, programme teams and learners in understanding, engaging with, planning for and implementing RPL. 

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 2465 KB

Recognition of Prior Learning Toolkit worksheet and cards

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

The worksheet and cards to be used in conjunction with the RPL toolkit handbook.  The toolkit supports departments, programme teams and learners in understanding, engaging with, planning for and implementing RPL. 

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 2625 KB

European Case Studies project


This project, commissioned in 2010, had the aim of gathering case studies of RPL in HEIs in Scotland and the rest of Europe.


Collection of Recognition of Prior Learning case studies

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

This collection of 25 case studies includes a rich variety of RPL initiatives and provide an important resource for practitioners, institutions and countries looking to introduce, develop, or expand practice and policies relating to RPL.

Author: Various institutions from 11 countries
Format: PDF
Size: 1190 KB

Other RPL Resources


Streamlining Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines - Support and assessment

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

These guidelines aimed to support the university sector in Scotland to develop and implement more streamlined, enhanced approaches to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) support and assessment.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 294 KB

Learners experiences of the Recognition of Prior Learning process

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

The aim of this project was to gather data about the learner experience of undertaking a claim for the recognition of prior informal learning in higher education in Scotland. The research was funded by QAA Scotland and instigated and developed through the RPL Network.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 328 KB

Streamlining Recognition of Prior Learning processes - Facilitating the award of credit

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2014

This project was designed to support the development of the Streamlining of Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines. The report gives more detail about the work that was carried out to scope the structure and content of the Guidelines.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 615 KB