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Outdoor Training College

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Recognition of Prior Learning

Traps and Tips

In many cases the RPL process can be exhausting, frustrating and downright stressful for both the applicant and the Registered Training Organisation (RTO's). We have put together a small list of common traps of the RPL process and helpful tips to assist in overcoming these.



The applicant would like their skills, knowledge and experience to be recognised and to avoid any unnecessary work for areas they already feel competent in. The RTO needs to ensure they do not breach the compliance requirements placed upon them as doing so could lead to serious consequences such as suspension or cancellation of their RTO status.
Describing how and when you have done something well, without getting to the heart of the purpose (the intended or expected result) of that activity and what was actually achieved by your good performance

Effective performance is all about producing an intended or expected result.
Try to think of positive outcomes that you have achieved as a direct result of your competency.
This is more difficult than it sounds, but if you can master this your portfolio of evidence will be very powerful. This principle can be applied to any other situation when you need to influence or impress a third party. For example, when writing a resume or preparing a funding proposal or tender submission.
Similar to the tip above, if you can prove these results or outcomes your competency will be indisputable. Statistics (published or otherwise), evaluation studies, winning tenders or awards; these are all ways that of proving positive outcomes or results.

Your word is the weakest form of evidence - indisputable, authentic evidence is that which is provided by an objective third party When thinking of examples which demonstrate your competency, try to think how this can be proven!

Validity - Saying something is simply not enough

Documents like resumes are merely saying something in writing (statement) that need to be backed up by supporting evidence.
How will you back up these statements?

Hard Evidence - If it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t count

All evidence needs to be documented and many include testimonies, reference letters etc, as long as they are recorded and validated.
Validation means that they can be verified and proved beyond doubt.

Overseas, Non-Accredited and or University Qualifications
These may not be measurable against the Australian VET Qualification Framework

These qualifications may have different terminology, components, learning outcomes or elements that we are simply unable to accurately map against the units of competency associated with a VET Course
If we can not map it we can not award it
Your evidence needs to demonstrate your work, experience, currency, knowledge and ability against regulatory requirements.
Non VET Recognition
What your company or another organisation accept, for example, in-house training or association training, may not be enough or correct for RPL under the framework rules

If we do not know what it is, or it can not be proven, or we can not measure it against the VET standards, It does not count

While specific examples of when and how you have performed a task well are weightier than assertions of competency, try not to populate your portfolio of evidence solely with these examples.

Remember that your combined evidence must be authentic, valid, reliable, current AND sufficient.

If your portfolio of evidence contains only examples of past performance claimed and authored by you personally, an assessor may question the authenticity of your evidence.

Specificity when describing examples will help, but your portfolio must also contain some evidence which verifies the authenticity of the content. Third party reports, and (even better) awards or prizes will strengthen your portfolio. Take heart, though, if you have not received any awards or prizes. Very few people have these things to offer as evidence and it does NOT mean that your application for RPL will be unsuccessful.

When thinking of examples which demonstrate your competency, try to think how these can be proven.

Your word is the weakest form of evidence. Indisputable, authentic evidence is that which is provided by an objective third party. For example: prizes and awards; a formal qualification or statement of attainment; quality product or service applauded in a newsletter or paper.

Third party reports such as references are also often used to demonstrate competency. However, these are slightly weaker forms of evidence (although they are perfectly acceptable) because the objectivity of the third party is difficult to verify, whereas to award a prize or statement of attainment due process must be followed. This assures equity, objectivity and the deservingness of the recipient.

Remember that actual examples of your work – such as reports you have written, minutes documenting a decision you have been instrumental in bringing about, letters you have crafted, and processes you have created – will be very weighty additions to your portfolio, provided that they have been  authenticated by a third party.