Is RPL just a way to fast-track qualifications?


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) boasts many benefits, the most obvious being the ability to fast track obtaining a qualification.

Many people today have extensive experience in their field but not the qualifications behind their name to back that experience. RPL offers a solution for those eligible candidates.

RPL not only helps in achieving qualifications, but is also an effective tool within the workplace to prove competency. This affords people the option of entering into a field that they have no qualifications or paperwork for, based on prior experience.

Other benefits of RPL include the ability to do a credit transfer from one qualification to another, the ability to prove designation at a professional body (such as the Marketing Association of South Africa – MASA), and saving time and money when used as a form of the personal development programme (PDP), to create a training plan that is targeted and, therefore, more cost and time effective.

Proving your worth is what RPL is all about.


An RPL advisor evaluates evidence and measures it against a quality standard. This standard is the benchmark and varies according to the requirements of each particular learning field and qualification therein.

There are pros and cons when it comes to the collection and assessment of evidence as an RPL assessment can be developed to evaluate current competence – but there are some competencies that are less easily assessed. People need to be taught to keep proof of their experience. Once the available evidence has been collected the RPL advisor then indicates what has been achieved and will also highlight any gaps in the evidence that need to be filled.

Filling the gap

Gaps found in the evidence may

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Read this article by Mark Orpen, CEO, The Institute of People Development (IPD), as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the February/March 2018 edition of BusinessBrief.

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