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What is recognition of prior learning?

Recognition of Prior Learning, also known as RPL, is a form of assessment that acknowledges skills and knowledge gained previously by the applicant through:

  • Formal training conducted by industry or education institutions;
  • Work experience;
  • Life experience.

In order to grant RPL, the assessor must be confident that the candidate is currently competent against competency standards. It may help for you to have in mind that competency-based training is concerned with outcomes- i.e. you being able to demonstrate competency. Under these conditions, you are not required to undertake studies for those parts of a qualification where you are already competent. But you are required - if seeking RPL – to prove that you already have these competencies irrespective of how they have been achieved.

You could demonstrate your competency in the presence of an assessor who would probe your underpinning knowledge as well as observe your application of skill.

Evidence of your skills and knowledge may take a variety of forms and could include certification (formal qualification or statement of attainment), references from past employers, testimonials from clients and work samples. The assessor must ensure that the evidence is authentic, valid, reliable, current and sufficient:

  • Authentic means that the information and evidence provided is genuine and trustworthy;
  • Valid means that the information and evidence relevant to the qualification or competency being applied for, is well-founded, and adds weight to the RPL application;
  • Reliable means that the evidence can withstand scrutiny has integrity and reasonably indicates that the applicant is able to perform a task to a specified standard with regularity and consistency;
  • Sufficient means that an adequate amount of evidence must be provided. An 'adequate' amount is to an extent a matter of judgement and will depend on the type of evidence provided; if an application for RPL is compelling, then the evidence provided is adequate.

RPL can result in a full qualification or a statement of attainment for partial completion of a qualification.  You are welcome to access our assessment information and complaints handling procedure.  

Download an RPL toolkit

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Further Information

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