Australian Universities' RPL Policies and Practices: What Knowledge Counts?
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This chapter explores the difficulties surrounding the credentialing of open learning through an analysis of policies and practices relating to recognition of prior learning (RPL) in the Australian higher education sector. Here, credentialing encompasses both RPL for credit, where we ask to what extent there is a hierarchy of value placed on prior learning; and RPL for access where the notion of ‘meritocracy’ is foregrounded. The main argument is that, in the context of the Australian higher education sector, and possibly well beyond, RPL is more likely to be operationalised for strategic reasons relating to competitive university positioning within the sector, than for pedagogic motivations. As a result, equity considerations - especially for the most disadvantaged students - are further marginalised. It is one thing to develop processes through which open learning facilitates the production of knowledge, but another for this knowledge to be recognised by the Academy.
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