Monday, August 9, 2010

Effective RPL - is it possible

I also listened to a great presentation by John Price on whether effective RPL is possible. As he says, sometimes RPL is referred to as RPHell...
There seem to be so many barriers to RPL and the question is - are there ways in which we can demystify the process and ensure that there are benefits for candidates?
There are barriers to the student in terms of the jargon we use - there are endless accronyms and references to units that are just meaningless to some students.
There is also a fear of endless paperwork as well as of a process that seems inflexible. Special needs don't seem to be catered for easily.
Students often don't feel supported and the costs can be high because the work is conducted on an individual, one-on-one basis.
The RTO itself is reluctant to get involved because of the extra time needed from staff and because of a lack of understanding about RPL.
Employers often don't understand why students want what is perceived as being 'a piece of paper' when they can get on perfectly well with their assigned tasks. They certainly question the value-add to the business.
So what can be done?
RTO's can work on streamlining the RPL process and this process in turn can be more adaptable to different circumstances:
1. Allow applicants to complete a user-friendly, plain English form.
2. Do some questions with the applicant in a conversational way - make sure that the questions relate to what the person does.
3. Let them do a practical demo if applicable or bring evidence
4. Get some 3rd party verification.
Adapt these steps based on the circumstances of each individual. Don't just go by unit - have a picture in mind of what a really competent person in the workplace looks like.
The key to RPL is that you do not know where the person was trained and how they were trained. So instead use the end as your starting point - and the end is a clear picture of a competent person.
You will then be able to map back to the units and to the critical pieces of evidence.

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