Skip to main content Accessibility Statement

Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL is the process for recognising learning that has come from experience and/or previous formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts. This includes knowledge and skills gained outside school, college and university, and outside formal learning situations such as through life and work experiences.

In 2014, QAA Scotland worked closely with the higher education sector to develop the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) National Framework for Scottish Higher Education. This RPL Framework was intended to support widening participation and workforce development. Eight years on, the need to promote widening participation and support upskilling and reskilling remains a high priority.

In session 2021-22, the project reviewed and updated the RPL Framework to make it fit for the tertiary education sector.

Recognition of Prior Learning: Framework for Scotland

Publication date: 29 Nov 2022

In session 2022-23, the key aim is to establish a Professional Learning Network that will be self-sustaining beyond the end of the Project. We will also be hosting a series of online workshops to support tertiary staff and students implementing and using RPL to develop, deliver and recognise more flexible and accessible learning.

If you are interested in joining the Network or being kept informed about the workshops, please email

Background resources

In session 2020-21, we undertook a scan of UK and international RPL practice. The report of this scan, and its executive summary, explore the differing terminology, processes, frameworks and support for RPL across the globe.

Closer to home, QAA Scotland sought college and HEI practitioner views of RPL via a survey which explored the currency and use of the 2014 RPL Framework, terminology in use for RPL, and the benefits of RPL for institutions and students.


An additional survey of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies was undertaken to gauge the value of RPL for these organisations as well as the language in use. The findings of this survey are reported here together with a snapshot of accessibility of RPL information on these professional body websites.


Recognition of Prior Learning in Scotland - Practitioner Perspective Survey

Publication date: 01 Sep 2022

Recognition of Prior Learning and Professional Bodies

Publication date: 01 Sep 2022

Bitesize CPD Videos


During session 2022-23, we are hosting a series of online workshops. These short, interactive, practically-focused sessions are aimed at practitioners in the tertiary sector who are seeking to learn more about various aspects of RPL.


Below you can find bite-sized presentations from these workshops.


Expert Review Group

To direct the review of the RPL Framework, an Expert Review Group was convened, bringing together practitioners from across the sector. We are grateful to Professor Ruth Whittaker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) at the University of Brighton, for chairing this Group. Ruth previously chaired the group that led on the production of the initial iteration of the Framework and brought invaluable expertise and experience to the process.


Our RPL Framework Expert Review Group comprised colleagues from a range of institutions and sector organisations who volunteered to help review and redevelop this widely used resource.

RPL Institutional Members
Aberdeen University
City of Glasgow College
Edinburgh College
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Heriot-Watt University
Open University in Scotland
University of Brighton
University of the Highlands and Islands
University of the West of Scotland
RPL Sector Body Members
College Development Network
QAA Scotland and QAA
SCQF Partnership
Scottish Qualifications Authority
Universities Scotland