What is RPL and What are the ASQA Standards for RPL? Leave a comment

Introduction to Recognition of Prior Learning in Australian RTO 

Do you know what is the meaning of RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) through ASQA’s standards? Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a valued and regulated assessment process in the Australian VET (Vocational Education and Training) system.

Whether it be through job roles, ranks achieved, volunteer work, travel experiences, or a combination of formal and informal courses, RPL validates the value of collective expertise.

RPL is an important aspect of the VET which is a competency-based training system and holds immeasurable value in propelling personal growth.

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the realm of recognising prior learning through ASQA standards. Let’s begin.

What is RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)?

The process of assessing learners for their prior knowledge to decide the amount of learning they would require aligning with the Training Package requirements or the VET-certified course the learners are enrolling on is called Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL.

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment only method. Learners acquire knowledge through formal, non-formal as well as informal learning.

Formal learning involves

  • structured instructional programs that are specifically designed to lead individuals towards obtaining an AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework) qualification or a statement of attainment.
  • These programs follow a well-defined curriculum and are typically associated with certificates, diplomas, or university degrees.

Non-formal learning

  • refers to structured instructional programs that lack a direct connection to AQF qualifications or statements of attainment. Despite this, they still offer valuable learning experiences.
  • An example of non-formal learning includes in-house professional development initiatives organised by businesses, which aim to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge.

Informal learning

  • emerges from various life experiences and activities. It encompasses learning that takes place in work-related settings, social interactions, family dynamics, hobbies, or leisure pursuits.
  • Informal learning emphasises the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge, such as interpersonal skills developed through years of experience as a sales representative.

Formal learning is deeply intertwined with accredited qualifications, while non-formal learning provides structured instruction without formal credentials. Informal learning, on the other hand, occurs through a diverse range of life experiences. By recognising the significance of these distinct forms of learning, RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) tailor their RPL assessments.

List of Documents Needed to Apply for RPL

A list of documents needed for RPL assessment is provided by the RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) although the documentation can vary from learner to learner and RTO to RTO.

A general list of items that can be included in the RPL assessment documentation is (this could vary depending on the applicant’s prior work experience or training experience) –

a) Applicant’s resume and history of work should include:

– Prior qualifications obtained by the applicant.

– Prior work history of the applicant.

– A detailed explanation of the applicant’s key responsibilities at the workplace.

– The prior competence achieved by the applicant and any achievements achieved by the applicant.

– Letters of references from previous employers and supervisors.

b) Carbon copies of Qualifications and Awards:

– All certificates and diplomas/ degrees that the applicant has received.

– All results from assessments at the workplace.

– Any course completion certificates from the workplace.

– Any professional licenses the applicant possess.

– Any achievement awards and industry awards won by the applicant.

c) Samples of work of the applicant:

– All reports and projects submitted by the applicant at their previous work or training.

– All photographic evidence of work done by the applicant.

– Log hour books and task sheets from previous jobs or workplace training.

– A list of competencies achieved at training or at the workplace.

d) RPL application form filled by the applicant.

e) If the applicant has no work experience, they will have to submit an ASQA student record copy to the RTO.

Why is RPL Important for Learners and RTOs?

RPL (Recognising Prior Learning) is a gateway to converting employment and life experiences into Nationally Recognised Qualifications in the form of RPL certificate. RPL acknowledges the diverse elements that contribute to an individual’s knowledge and skills over time. RPL certificate empowers learners to leverage their existing experience, skills, and knowledge, gaining credit and reducing the time required to complete qualifications.

How RTOs Can Effectively Assess Prior Learning for Learners?

RTOs must develop an RPL assessment process and RPL assessment tool commonly known . These assessments should follow the ASQA Standards for effective assessment. This will help RTOs to effectively assess prior learning. Below we have explained ASQA Standards for RPL, RPL Assessment Process and RPL assessment Kit.

What does RPL mean according to the ASQA Standards?

Within the intricate framework of regulations laid out by ASQA’s Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in 2015, training providers bear the responsibility of recognising the prior learning of individual learners.

However, this recognition is dependent upon the training package requirements or licensing obligations. Consequently, RTOs are mandated to offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to learners. That is why RTOs follow Fair and Flexible principles of assessment for the RPL assessment process.

How RTOs Follow ASQA Standards for RPL Assessment?

Clause 1.8(b) of the Standards for RTOs 2015 states that RTO’s assessment process must be conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment (Fairness, Flexibility, Validity and Reliability) and the Rules of Evidence (Validity, Sufficiency, Authenticity and Currency)

Out of the four principles of assessment, fairness and flexibility focusses on RPL. RTO’s RPL assessment must maintain fairness and flexibility. These principles guide the RPL process of the RTOs.

Fairness of the RPL Assessment

The RTO must completely inform the learner, or RPL applicant, about the RPL assessment process prior to the assessment process. This information must include types of evidence and performance of assessment standards that RTOs require from the applicant’s end.

The flexibility of the RPL Assessment

The RTO should make its RPL assessment flexible to the individual applicant by assessing their competencies irrespective of the origin and process of the competencies acquired.

Different RTOs will have different RPL assessment requirements changing their methods, but the methods usually follow a basic 5 step process. Let us understand it now.

Different RTOs will have different RPL assessment processes of their own. AQF and ASQA mandate RTOs to develop a fair and accessible RPL assessment process for every RPL applicant. RTOs should provide the applicant with a self-assessment form to gather all relevant information regarding the RPL assessment process. The self-assessment form can be a physical or online form depending on the RTOs.

RPL Assessment Process has the following steps involved:

  • Determining the amount of evidence required from the RPL applicant

RTOs must decide the amount of evidence they require depending on the qualification for which the applicant is applying. Without any evidence, the RPL process cannot commence. The applicant will have to submit various documents to facilitate recognising of their past experiences and other qualifications.

  • Consultation with RTOs based on the amount of evidence

Based on the amount of evidence requirements every applicant must be consulted by the RTO. This will help the applicant with evidence submission, maintaining the standards required by the RPL process and finding answers related to the amount of evidence. This step is done before the assessment based on the evidence.

  • Assessment of applicants based on the evidence provided by the RPL applicant

In this step the RTOs conduct an assessment based on the evidence provided by the RPL applicant. This assessment assesses the applicant the skills for a particular qualification. It is noteworthy that these assessments are also mindful of the LLN (Language, Literacy, and Numeracy) (Language, Literacy, and Numeracy) levels and cultural backgrounds of the applicants for which the assessments are reasonably adjusted.

  • Recording the results from the assessment of the RPL applicant

All the results are recorded by RTOs for future purposes. The credits provided for the RPL are subject to the AQF guidelines as well as RTO’s decision. The credits given to the applicant helps them finish their qualifications early. This helps those applicants that have time constraints.

  • Reporting results to the important stakeholders

The results of the RPL assessment should be announced to all the stakeholders like the applicant, employers, and other related stakeholders for maintaining transparency within the process.

The RPL assessment kit or RPL Kit is a vital component within the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. It facilitates the assessment of competence. Comprised of various elements, the kit provides the necessary tools to effectively evaluate an individual’s skills and knowledge.

It encompasses informative sections, such as clear and concise instructions, enabling both RPL assessors and applicants to navigate the assessment process seamlessly.

The RPL assessment kit also offers specific guidance regarding the evidence requirements. RPL applicants are equipped with a clear understanding of the type and quantity of evidence they need to provide.

Assessment instruments are integral to the RPL assessment kit, facilitating the gathering of both knowledge and performance evidence. These instruments enable assessors to evaluate an individual’s depth and breadth of knowledge through various methods, including written or verbal questioning.

It is worth noting that certain documents, such as resumes, position descriptions, and self-assessments, while valuable background information, do not constitute evidence within the RPL assessment process. The RPL assessment kit, an indispensable resource, empowers RTOs and assessors to assess an individual’s competence effectively while adhering to the ASQA Standards for Streamlined Progression.


The blog ” What is the meaning of RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) through ASQA’s standards?” has shed light on the transformative power of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) within the Australian VET system. By recognising diverse forms of learning and offering RPL as an assessment process, individuals could convert their employment and life experiences into valuable Nationally Recognised Qualifications. The blog has highlighted the importance of adhering to ASQA Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), ensuring the fair and flexible assessment of competency. The RPL assessment kit, an essential resource, provides the necessary tools and guidance for effective evaluation, enabling RTOs and assessors to recognise the value of prior learning and streamline progression for learners.

Where will you find the best RPL Kits for your RTO?

At VET Resources we offer the best RPL Kits and other training resources that are compliant with ASQA standards. For more information, contact here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1. Is RPL recognised across Australia?

A.1. Yes, RPL is recognised in Australia.

Q.2. How does a learner qualify for RPL in Australia?

A.2. If a learner has a work experience or community work experience, they are qualified for RPL. As mentioned in the blog, learners with formal, non-formal and informal learning experience are eligible for RPL.

The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.

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