RPL - business opportunity & pedagogical imperative
Why the Recognition of Prior Learning is a businessopportunity and a pedagogical imperative inAustralian Higher Education in a digital ageA workshop for Course Directors, Faculty ofBusiness, 23/05/2013, Albury NSW, Charles SturtUniversity Australia.Dr Merilyn Childs, Associate Professor of DigitalFutures, Australian Institute of Digital FuturesUniversity of Southern QueenslandMerilyn.Childs@usq.edu.au
But first, AQF Definitions, Nov 2012• RPL is an assessmentprocess that involvesassessment of anindividual’s relevant priorlearning (including formal,informal, and non-formallearning) to determine thecredit outcomes of anindividual application forcredit.• Credit is the value assignedfor the recognition ofequivalence in content andlearning outcomes and/orqualifications.http://www.aqf.edu.au/Portals/0/Documents/2013%20docs/RPL%20Explanation.pdf
Too often we consider prior learning as flawed. So weintroduce a formula that goes something like this:+= proper, civilised university educationAn aside: this flaw underpins current debates about giving MOOCs credit.
But really, the changing nature of work, learning & participation in a digitalage just makes that thinking outmoded++= lifelong, personalised, connected learning(within which formal studies play a part)+
Flawed logic in the digital age• University learning good(Yay!)• Informal learning bad(Boo!)Robust logic in the digital age• Learning anywhere, anytime may be good (Yay!).Our job is to make sense of the personalizedconnections between well designed universitylearning (yay!) and great informal learning (yay!).
In Australia, we tend to think about RPL as a vocational process:Google search:“RPL and au”
In Europe and North America much more thinking isbeing done about RPL (APEL & VPL) in HEGoogle search“RPL and eu”
Sometimes we need to acknowledge that it’s hard tospot the difference• Grown in university soil • Grown in the soil of lifehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/wgyuri/501884430/
In summary• Research confirms that the primary mode ofrecognition in Australian Universities is throughcredit transfer, not RPL• This means lack of responsiveness to prior informaland non-formal learning – and failure to respond tostudents as a “package deal” of personalized learning• It also means an amazing opportunity exists to buildbusiness and lead in this space
RPL (as opposed to credit) is a process that demandsof us that we understand two key questions:• What are the qualities andcharacteristics of theoranges we hope tonurture?• How do we recognise thosequalities and characteristicsregardless of the soil theywere grown in, who plantedthe bare roots, how thewatering was done?There are models to answer this, but first….
Exercise 1: Undergraduate course responsestowards prior learning• Ignore prior learning (pack of analytics about studentbackgrounds, ages, prior occupations)• Note prior learning, take no action• Value prior learning as part of entry criteria or learningactivities and assessments• Accredit prior formal learning through credit packages andadvanced standing, but ignore prior informal and non-formallearning• Accredit prior learning (in line with AQF definition)Through this exercise Ihoped to illicitconversations about thetypes of responsescurrently made to astudent’s prior learning
Exercise 2Through this exercise I hopedto provoke discussion aboutcurrent responses, assuming astudent with this kind of profileapplied to study.
What else is possible? #1http://priorlearning.athabascau.ca/ (Note in the US they can charge a fee)Although generallyspeaking Australia lackssubstantial models re RPL,it’s important we lookelsewhere to see what ispossible.
What else is possible? #2http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/elearningcapital/eapel_final_report.pdfOne key issue aboutimplementing RPL is theissue of scale – althoughnot easily translated to theAustralia context, thisemerging project is aninteresting idea.
http://learn.openscout.net/index.htmlOh, Have you heard about this?I included this becausechange to HE in terms ofRPL can be contextualisedin terms of a learner’saccess to micro credentialsand open learningopportunities.
Acknowledgments• http://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/4412472230/sizes/m/in/photostream/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/7704609288/lightbox/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcwathieu/2412755417/sizes/m/in/photostream/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/margoconnell/1450871195/sizes/m/in/photostream/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/80535871@N00/3237230544/sizes/m/in/photostream/Why is RPL a business opportunity as well as apedagogical imperative? It’s a business opportunitybecause right now in Australia, no one universityhas developed a comprehensive response to RPL,and the opportunity it provides to attract students.It’s a pedagogical imperative because learner’s learnthrough a wide range of open learning, workplaceand other opportunities. In the clouds, throughsocial media, and in places like the OERu. We havethe policy frameworks to move forward in a positiveway – we just need to do the hard thinking, carefulbalancing and creative work!END