A disciplinary-specific approach to the recognition of prior informal experience in adult pedagogy: ‘rpl’ as opposed to ‘RPL’

Publication data:

  • Author(s):
    • Breier, Mignonne
  • Date:
  • Country:
    South Africa
  • Document Type:
    Journal article
  • Keywords:
    South Africa, adult learners, prior learning, informal learning, law



‘Recognition of Prior Learning' (RPL) is usually associated with assessment processes prior to entry into an educational programme. This paper considers the recognition of prior learning in post-entry pedagogy (referred to here as ‘rpl' lower case). The focus is on informal learning or experience in courses in Labour Law at two universities in South Africa. Transcripts of interactions between lecturers and students are viewed in the light of three common perspectives on RPL and then in terms of a proposed new disciplinary-specific approach. This approach exhorts adult educators to consider the nature and structure of a discipline or field of study and the relationship between formal and informal knowledge within that structure to ensure the authenticity of a programme and the success within it of students with extensive practical experience but limited formal qualifications. [Journal Abstract]