Recognition of prior learning in New Zealand: What has been, what is, and what might be.

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Hornblow, D.
Recognition of prior learning (RPL)
Flexible assessment
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Peer-reviewed status
Working Papers
This paper traces the history of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in New Zealand from the beginning of the 1990s to the present day. It draws upon a case study from the early years, a wide range of the literature, advice from experts in the field, and personal experience of the author in presenting at conferences, both nationally and internationally, and in facilitating candidates through RPL processes. In terms of what has been and what is, benchmarks of inspiration, frustration and celebration are indicated. Looking to the future, it suggests that RPL policy and principles rest easily within the concepts of flexible assessment and open learning. To help put strategies for recognising prior learning in place, a convenient way of categorising tertiary educational institutions in terms of both their accessibility to learners for RPL and their related economic viability is presented. 'Lo-Lo' (that is, low in accessibility and low in economic viability, respectively), 'Hi-Lo', 'Lo-Hi' and 'Hi-Hi' organisations are identified and described. Overall, the author proposes a 'Flexible Assessment Model' involving partnerships among learners, education and training providers, industry, unions and government. This model, from the perspective of education providers, incorporates a cyclical process of: (1) pre-entry counselling, (2) referrals between institutions as appropriate, (3) learner profiling, (4) negotiation of learning and assessment options, (5) assessment, (6) granting of credit, and (7) consideration of new learning opportunities.
Hornblow, D. (2002). Recognition of prior learning in New Zealand: What has been, what is, and what might be (Working Papers No. 8-02). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.