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A1-2 Identify barriers and enablers to implementing RPL

Positioning questions

  • What are the barriers to implementing RPL at departmental and programme levels?
  • What approaches can be used to help overcome the barriers?
  • Who (or which groups/committees) should have responsibility for implementing such approaches?

Good practice

  • Barriers to implementing RPL at departmental and programme levels are clearly identified e.g.
    • Staff workload
    • Staff skills, understanding and buy-in to RPL
    • Priority for RPL at a senior departmental level
    • No RPL statements in outcome agreements
    • Funding for RPL
    • Learner understanding of RPL and academic practices.
    • Limited places on degree programmes which are over-subscribed.
    • Professional bodies don’t recognise RPL.
    • Need to embrace different assessment methods.
    • Need to re-define learning outcomes.
  • Enablers include:
    • Policies and processes that mainstream and integrate RPL within admissions, learning, teaching and assessment strategies and quality assurance mechanisms.
    • Clear points of contact for RPL for potential applicants, existing students and staff.
    • Curriculum design that explicitly addresses flexible modes of entry, progression and delivery, linked to a wider understanding and recognition of RPL across the institution including quality assurance.
    • Building staff capacity and capability in terms of providing effective forms of RPL support and appropriate forms of assessment, which is linked to initial and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and in staff workload.
    • Greater use of technology-enhanced RPL provision through virtual learning environments and e-portfolios as part of a blended learning approach to support and assessment.
    • Integration of RPL processes within related developments such as personal development planning (PDP), employability, work-based learning and distance learning; employer engagement strategies, widening participation and college-university articulation strategies.
    • Data gathering and analysis that ensures effective monitoring, tracking and evaluation as part of a process of reviewing and enhancing RPL practice.