Towards the Design of a Workplace RPL Implementation Model for the South African Insurance Sector.pdf

Publication data:

  • Author(s):
    • Dellar, Karen
  • Date:
  • Country:
    South Africa
  • Document Type:
  • Keywords:
    RPL, theory, case studies, South Africa, financial advisors, insurance industry, logic model


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an internationally accepted process of assessing non-formal learning with the intention of matching it to academic credits. This allows the candidate to earn either a full or partial qualification based on knowledge and/or skills acquired outside of the formal classroom. The South African insurance sector was faced with legislation requiring all financial advisers to earn academic credits before they could continue in the industry. The sector believed that the RPL process would suit their circumstances because most financial advisers had many years of workplace experience and had mostly attended many internal, but often unaccredited, product training programmes. However, there was no RPL implementation model to guide a workplace implementation of this nature as most RPL models followed the practices set by formal higher education providers and there was no consideration of the many variables that have an impact in the workplace.

This research set out to design a logic model to guide the implementation of workplace RPL in the insurance sector. The data was collected during the evaluation of an RPL implementation programme that had good results but which used the more individualistically inspired RPL approach of formal education. The data was analysed using grounded theory data analysis techniques (Strauss & Corbin, 1998 and Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and the result was the identification of 18 broad categories. Further analysis reduced these to five categories, i.e. reaction to the circumstances requiring the RPL, personal mastery, team support, changing perceptions towards the RPL process, and perceived outcome of the RPL process.

These categories were researched by looking at the most influential traditional and workplace learning theorists, as well as the most influential RPL theorists. Finally, a secondary data analysis was conducted on 18 workplace RPL case studies described by Dyson and Keating (2005). The results of this research were formulated into a logic model to guide RPL implementation in the insurance sector. Using this logic model as a guide, further recommendations were made to guide workplace RPL implementation in the future.