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National Framework for Recognising Prior Learning for Higher Education 

QAA Scotland worked with the Scottish higher education sector to develop a National Framework for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Why develop a Framework for RPL?

QAA Scotland views RPL as being of strategic importance because of its role in:

  • developing flexible and learner-centred programmes
  • widening access and participation in higher education.

Aims and activities of the National Framework Project

The Framework is designed to support RPL developments at all levels in the sector, with the following aims.

At sector level

  • Allow HEIs and other organisations to share, develop and enhance practice in RPL in a consistent and sustainable manner.

    • Minimum benchmark for RPL policy and practice for HEIs.
    • Raise awareness amongst senior policy managers in HEIs and other organisations of RPL of the value of RPL as a method to widen participation and encourage the development of flexible, learner-centred curricula.
    • Develop Scottish HE RPL Network as a Community of Practice.
    • Scottish HE RPL Network seen as a source of expertise in RPL policy and practice development.

At institutional level

  • Reduce inconsistencies in RPL processes between and within HEIs.

    • Implementation of Streamlining Guidelines at institutional level.
    • Update/refresh examples of practice in Guidelines.

For students

  • Raise awareness and increase transparency of RPL for students and clearly identify the benefits of RPL to them.

    • Work with HEIs to encourage them to produce clear guidance and information for students.
    • Develop resources and identify good practice to help HEIs do the above.
    • Encourage HEIs to raise awareness of the benefits of RPL for students.

Professional body/employer level

  • Raise awareness and increase transparency of RPL for professional bodies, employer organisations and employers and clearly identify the benefits of RPL to them.



    • Develop clear and transparent guidance on RPL for professional bodies, employer organisations and employers.
    • Work with those professional bodies and employer organisations with well established RPL practices to identify and share practice.
    • Develop case studies of RPL in a professional body/employer context.