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Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

What is APEL and RPL?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) has been part of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) since 2005 and can be used to gain entry to the HE system. Only SCQF Credit Rating Bodies can formally award SCQF Levels and Credit Points through RPL. These include colleges and HE providers, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and other organisations approved by the SCQF Partnership.

Colleges and universities have been carrying out Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L), or RPL, since the 1990s. In HE in particular, AP(E)L/RPL is seen as a way of widening access to students from non-traditional backgrounds. It is used for both admissions and the award of credit, although in HE the former is less common. RPL may be managed at central or departmental level, depending on the institution in question. At Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), for example, claims for ‘flexible entry’ from students are managed at school level as part of the University’s outreach work.

Further information and references

Glasgow Caledonian University Flexible Entry: Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Informal Learning (RPL), Summary Guidelines for Staff. – CHECK URL

Hawley, J (2010) European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning. Country Report: UK (Scotland). A project of the European Commission, DG Education and Culture in co-operation with The European Centre for Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).