In search of phronesis: recognizing practical wisdom in the Recognition (Assessment) of Prior Learning

Publication data:

  • Author(s):
    • Breier, Mignonne
    • Ralphs, Alan
  • Date:
  • Country:
    South Africa
  • Document Type:
    Journal article
  • Keywords:
    phronesis, Prior learning assessment, recognition, APEL, education, adult learners



This article argues that greater understanding of the Aristotelian concept of phronesis or practical wisdom would make an important contribution to the conceptualization and implementation of Recognition (Assessment) of Prior Learning (RPL/APL) in formal education contexts. However, there is a need to identify phronesis empirically so that RPL assessors can identify it and RPL candidates can articulate it. Extracts from the qualitative data of two separate research projects are presented to show examples of phronesis. These extracts also show the difficulties associated with its articulation and identification. It is argued that even if phronesis cannot be accredited for RPL purposes, it should be taught and discussed in the curricula of adult education and RPL portfolio development courses to show the importance of this form of knowledge and reasoning and the different forms it might assume in formal education and life contexts. [Author Abstract]