Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows students to progress through qualifications by giving credit to learning outcomes they have already achieved. All Registered Training Organizations in Australia are required to offer RPL.
Following the Australian Qualifications Framework policies, RPL providers assess the evidence students provide of prior learning and experience, and determine to what extent their previous learning is equivalent to the learning outcomes of the destination qualification. RPL gives students greater access into formal learning and qualifications by recognising achievements in other formal, non-formal or informal learning.
It’s an important process for people who want to receive formal recognition of their hard work and speed up the study process. For many people, it will reduce what they need to study as part of the course, and for some it can mean that they don’t need to study at all.
The Rules of Evidence
The process of assessment will look at various forms of evidence to establish the competency level of the student. This evidence has to meet the Rules of Evidence, which are:
Sufficient: Does the evidence provide enough for the assessor to make a sound and informed judgment?
Authentic: Is the evidence yours and is it trustworthy?
Reliable: Does the evidence withstand scrutiny?
Current: Do you have evidence that is recent (within the past 3 years) that accurately represents your current level of skills and knowledge?
3 Types of RPL evidence
The certification that a student chooses will determine the specific type of evidence they have to provide, for example a certificate in business administration won’t require the same kind of evidence as a certificate in school based education support.
However, there are three distinct types of evidence that assessors commonly look for. Most people will use a mix of all three as part of their RPL assessment. No type of evidence is weighted more than the other, it essentially depends on how well it meets the Rules of Evidence and what evidence is best suited to demonstrate the requirements of each course.
Here are the three types of RPL evidence:
Direct evidence refers to when the RPL assessor can observe you working in real-time to see your skill and knowledge being demonstrated. It can be done either in-person or using video.
This may include:
- The assessor observing you at work in-person
- An assessment of your knowledge and skills in-person
- Providing videos of you completing a task and/or working
Indirect evidence refers to any type of evidence that the assessor can evaluate to ascertain the level of skill you have. There are a variety of ways you can provide indirect evidence, with the specifics of the course determining what will be relevant.
It may include:
- A finished product that demonstrates your work, such as a document, pieces of work communication, or worksite visits
- A portfolio of your work
- Videos or photos of your finished work
- Written assignments or test results
Any other type of evidence that isn’t an example of your work but supports your capacity is considered supplementary evidence.
This could be:
- Job descriptions
- Any relevant references
- Testimonials or interviews from clients or employers
- Work diaries or logs
- Evidence of any relevant past training and education
Every training organisation may have slightly different methods for undertaking their RPL assessments, however they will all follow the same requirements in regards to evidence rules and types.
At OPEC College, our RPL assessment process looks like this:
Step 1 – Free assessment
Fill in our pre-assessment form online and our team will provide guidance for your next steps and requirements, helping you start the journey to achieve your RPL certification.
Step 2 – Evidence portfolio
With our help and advice, you will gather evidence of your skills and knowledge, which may include a mixture of the examples above. You then submit it online for our assessors to review. This portfolio will help to prove your prior skills and knowledge, so our assessors will assist you in collecting the right evidence.
Step 3 – Evidence review
After we have assessed your evidence portfolio, our team will be in contact with you to have any competency conversations or practical observations if it is required.
Step 4 – Training if needed
If it is found that your evidence doesn’t meet all the learning outcomes of your desired course, we will provide online training modules to help you fill the gaps in your knowledge and complete the requirements of your qualification.
Step 5 – Qualified!
The final step in your journey is receiving your nationally recognised certification from OPEC College! Your new certification will help you pursue new career goals and greater opportunities.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our RPL process or have any questions, find out more on our Recognition of Prior Learning page here.