Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means an assessment process that assesses the competency/s of an individual that may have been acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual meets the requirements specified in the training package or VET accredited courses.
- formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction and is linked to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, a certificate, diploma or university degree);
- non-formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction, but does not lead to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment (for example, in-house professional development programs conducted by a business); and
- informal learning refers to learning that results through experience of work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities (for example the acquisition of interpersonal skills developed through several years as a sales representative).
You can use a variety of documentation to apply for RPL. This includes, but is not limited to:
- records of completed training
- assessment items
- assessment records
- declarations from a student’s employer, and/or
- a copy of student records provided by ASQA.
The VET Quality Framework or the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 do not prevent RTOs from providing and granting RPL and issuing AQF qualifications or statements of attainment to their own trainers and assessors. However, RTOs must be able to provide evidence which demonstrates how competence was determined prior to issuing AQF qualification or statement of attainment. For example, the RTO must be able to demonstrate compliance with Clause 1.8, ensuring that assessment complies with the requirements of the training package, is conducted in accordance with the principles of assessment and rules of evidence. In addition, the trainer and assessor delivering the training and conducting assessment must comply with Clauses 1.13 – 1.16.
Yes, a superseded non-equivalent unit of competency can be used as part of an RPL process toward the award of a current unit of competency.
However, currency is a particular risk with recognition of prior learning. Your RTO may be presented with evidence gathered over a number of years, including evidence of competency from a superseded non-equivalent unit of competency. This does not mean the superseded non-equivalent unit is not valid; however, you must ensure there is sufficient evidence of the person’s competence at the time you make the assessment decision.
For example, if a learner is applying for recognition of prior learning for the unit SHBXCCS007 Conduct salon financial transactions and provides evidence of previously completing the superseded non-equivalent unit SHBXCCS001 - Conduct salon financial transactions, your RTO should:
- Consider all of the requirements of the unit SHBXCCS007 and compare them to the skills awarded in SHBXCCS001 (refer to the mapping information provided within the SHB v4.0 Training Package for guidance).
- Identify any additional forms of evidence the student could provide to demonstrate competence.
- Ensure the total evidence provided by the learner shows they have current skills and knowledge in all requirements of SHBXCCS007.
- Retain all evidence collected during the process.
If the learner has been awarded a previous unit of competency which is deemed superseded and equivalent, please see ASQA’s position on awarding credit transfer here.
RTOs must develop and implement strategies for training and assessment that consider the characteristics, skill, and experiences of each individual learner. The Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 require RTOs to offer RPL to learners. RPL is an assessment-only process that assesses the competency of an individual—competency which may have been acquired through formal, non-formal and/or informal learning. This assessment seeks to determine the extent to which an individual meets the requirements specified in training packages or VET accredited courses.
Under the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, your RTO must offer recognition of prior learning (RPL) to individual learners—unless the requirements of the training package or licensing requirements prevent this.
Offering RPL ensures the learner has the opportunity to participate in assessment that is flexible and fair. Where units, and assessments, have been clustered:
In developing the assessment tools, your RTO should have a mechanism for ensuring all requirements of each unit of competency are addressed—for example, a mapping process. An RTO could use this mechanism to identify which components of an assessment have been addressed by awarding RPL for a unit, and which tasks are still required to be completed. It is possible the units have been clustered because of their similarities. A student may be able to demonstrate competency by RPL for all units in the cluster. For further information, refer to Clauses 1.8 - 1.12.