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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.

RPL Framework for Scotland

QAA Scotland worked with the higher education sector to develop the RPL Framework in Scotland, with the key aims of:

  • expanding and embedding RPL to a much wider extent in the higher education sector
  • raising awareness of and increasing transparency of RPL processes for staff and students
  • reducing inconsistencies in RPL processes between and within HEIs
  • allowing HEIs and other organisations to share and develop practice in RPL in a consistent and sustainable manner.

The Framework was initially published in 2014. It was reviewed and updated in 2021-22 as part of Valuing and Recognising Prior Learning and Experience, a project linked to the Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme.

The underpinning work for the original Framework included the development of a set of RPL principles for HEIs, based on review of RPL practice across the UK and internationally. These principles have been substantially retained, with only minor adaptations, to make them applicable to a tertiary sector and with an enhanced focus on employers and professional bodies.

Recognition of Prior Learning: Framework for Scotland

Publication date: 29 Nov 2022

RPL 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

Recognition of Prior Learning Toolkit worksheet and cards

Publication date: 15 Jan 2014

European Case Studies project

In 2010 we ran the European case studies project, with the aim to gather case studies on RPL in Scottish HEI's and the rest of Europe.

Collection of Recognition of Prior Learning case studies

Publication date: 15 Jan 2014

Other resources

Streamlining Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines - Support and assessment

Publication date: 15 Jan 2014

Learners experiences of the Recognition of Prior Learning process

Publication date: 15 Jan 2014

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

Publication date: 15 Jan 2014