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DkIT-Recognised Prior Learning (HCI-Pillar-3)

Realising the Potential of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Lifelong Learning in Irish Higher Education – A National Initiative in Collaboration with Enterprise

DkIT-Recognised Prior Learning (HCI-Pillar-3)

About the Project

This innovative and ambitious collaboration between the Institutes of Technology, the Universities and TU Dublin seeks to build a consistent and coherent approach to RPL within and across the 19 publicly funded higher education institutions. Funded under the Irish Government’s Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3 (Innovation and Agility), the project will see the HEIs engineer a significant shift in RPL policy, procedure and practice, that has transformative potential for Ireland’s education system to become an international leader in the field. The project will play a crucial role in delivering on a range of national and European policy objectives in lifelong learning and meeting skills needs.

The National Recognition of Prior Learning in Higher Education Project is a four-year collaboration sponsored by the Technological Higher Education Association and the Irish Universities Association, which works across all 19 publicly-funded higher education institutions (HEIs). The project seeks to enable the higher education system to respond rapidly to changes in both skills requirements and technology.

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a concept values all types of learning, regardless of where it has occurred (e.g. in formal education settings, workplaces or everyday life). Higher education applicants whose prior learning is formally recognised can be granted access, advanced entry, credit or exemptions from modules. In some cases learners may be able to evidence that they have sufficient prior learning equivalent to full or minor awards. A fundamental principle of RPL is that a learner should not be asked to relearn something they already know.

RPL is critical to the development of an accessible, flexible and permeable education and training system, and is a key enabler of lifelong learning and skills development, encouraging people of all ages to participate in learning pathways.

Visit National RPL Website

Challenges project will address

RPL has been in use in Irish higher education for decades and despite considerable progress and excellent examples of innovative practice, provision of RPL services is geographically uneven, fragmented and often very difficult to navigate for learners and higher education staff. Many people don’t know what RPL is or why it may be beneficial to them. The aim of this project is to work in partnership with enterprise, learners and the participating HEIs to bring RPL from the margins to the mainstream and substantially grow RPL opportunities (to 6,000 annually by the end of the project) and enhance RPL services in across the sector in a manner which is coherent, consistent and user-friendly.

DkIT Project Team & Implementation Team

View Implementation Membership

What’s our vision?

Our vision is that RPL is an integral part of the higher education system, widely understood, celebrated and utilized as a flexible pathway to further learning, certification and professional development.

What will we do?

Key activities for the project can be summarized as follows:

  • Develop and implement a learner-centred National Recognition of Prior Learning Framework to grow RPL opportunities and support service enhancement across the participating HEIs;​
  • Engage Enterprise Partners to understand the higher education needs of employees and identify RPL opportunities​;
  • Develop a National Online Platform to provide centralized information for diverse users;   
  • Expand Communities of RPL Practice in HEIs and enhance capacity through the provision of a suite of training tools, materials and resources;
  • Develop a National RPL Dataset to monitor/report on progress and inform policy;
  • Develop national and local Communications Campaigns to promote RPL opportunities and increase the numbers of admissions on the basis of RPL.

How is the project governed and managed?

The Project Manager Grace Edge, THEA. drives and co-ordinates the initiative at national/sectoral level and works closely with a team of 19  Project Leads (the ‘Project Team’) based in participating HEIs.

These include. UCC, MTU Cork, LYIT, UCD, MTU Kerry, IADT, TCD, MU, LIT, TCD, IT Carlow, WIT, GMIT, UL, TUS, UCC and IT Sligo.