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TVETipedia Glossary

Find and compare definitions of key terms in TVET


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Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Process of identifying, documenting, assessing and certifying a person’s competencies, acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning, based on established qualification standards. It provides a cost-effective, alternative pathway to formal education and training and to facilitate multi entry–exit between the education system and the labour market. Due to a lack of appropriate qualifications, a large proportion of people around the world face severe disadvantage in getting decent jobs, migrating to other regions and accessing further education, even though they have the required competencies. The RPL process can therefore help an individual acquire a formal qualification that matches their competencies, thereby improving their employability, mobility, lifelong learning, social inclusion and self-esteem.

The acknowledgement of a person's skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, work or life experience, which may be used to grant status or credit in a subject or module. It can lead to a full qualification in the VET sector.

NCVER (Australia), VOCEDplus: Glossary of VET, (accessed 12/2022)

An assessment process that assesses the individual’s non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning or competency outcomes; May also be referred to as: ccreditation of prior learning; Validation of informal/non formal learning.

UNESCO-UNEVOC/NCVER, TVET glossary: some key terms, 2009

Acknowledgement of the knowledge and skills that an individual has acquired in previous training and work or through experience.

ILO, Glossary of Key Terms on Learning and Training for Work, 2006

The principles and processes through which the prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purposes of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development.

SAQA (South Africa), TVET Standard Glossary of Terms, 2013

The process of recognising previous learning (often experiential) towards gaining a qualification.

ILO, An Introductory Guide to National Qualifications Frameworks, 2007

Acknowledgment through evaluation of a person’s skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, work or life experience, which may be used to grant credits.

SADC, Glossary, 2011

  • refers to the acknowledgement of a person’s skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, work or life experience, which may be used to grant status or credit. (IRR of RA No. 10968)
  • is a process of identifying, documenting, assessing and certifying formal, non-formal and informal learning outcomes against standards used in formal education and training. RPL provides an opportunity for people to acquire qualifications or credits towards a qualification or exemptions (from all or part of the curriculum, or even exemption from an academic prerequisite for entering a formal study program) without going through a formal education or training program. (International Labour Organization, 2018).
  • assessment that occurs at a point in time and is carried out to summarize achievement at that point in time. Often more structured than formative assessment, it provides teachers, students and parents with information on student progress and level of achievement; also called: Assessment of learning. (NCVER 2013, Australia)
TESDA (Philippines), TVET glossary of terms (online), (accessed 12/2022)

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