Terms used in RPL

The terminology, and the assessment or evaluation criteria used vary greatly between institutions, organisations and countries.

1. Prior learning - what you have learned to date through work, family or travel.

2. Formal learning - this refers to any courses you have taken and any certification you have got for them.

3. Informal learning - this on the job learning and the general learning from life. Sometimes referred to as learning form experience.

4. Non-formal learning - takes place alongside mainstream formal systems of education and training, it may be assessed but it does not lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Examples of non-formal learning are certain work-based education and training, learning for leisure and adult literacy programmes/courses.

5. Recognition - refers to the process by which prior learning is given a value, i.e. the identification, assessment and acknowledgement of learning achieved. That value relates to a qualification and can take the form of entry to a programme, credit, exemptions from programme requirements or access to a full award or qualification.

6. RPL - refers to the recognition of non-formal and informal learning as concerns awards or qualifications.

7. APL - Accreditation for Prior Learning

8. APEL - Accreditation to Prior Experiential Learning

9. PLC - Post Leaving Cert course

10. VEC - Vocational Education Committee.

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