The Recognition of Prior Informal Learning (RPL)

Guidance and resources for mentors and learners

The Recognition of Prior Informal Learning (RPL): guidance and resources for mentors and learners is free of charge for mentors and learners and can help support workers through assessments towards recognised qualifications. In particular learners who successfully complete the pack can provide some of the evidence towards their SVQ3 in Health and Social Care.

Managers and employers will also find the RPL pack a useful and valuable resource which can support them in recruitment, induction, supervision, appraisal and performance review processes.

The RPL pack was produced by the SSSC in partnership with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, and representatives from the Scottish social service sector.

Four documents make up the guidance and resources for mentors and learners:

Learners undertake a number of exercises and materials that can help them grow in confidence, recognise the skills and knowledge they have learned from previous experience, including to think and write reflectively. In particular learners identify how their skills and prior experience can be applied to the workplace. The resources can be used by a mentor working with a group of learners in the workplace or with an individual learner. The mentor can be anyone in a position to support learners.

SCQF/Social Services Recognition of Prior Informal Learning (RPL) pilot evaluation stage two

The RPL Social Services guidance and resources were developed by the Scottish Social Services Council as part of the development work to support the implementation of the SCQF within the social services sector.  The purpose of the RPL project was to engage social services workers who lack confidence as learners and/or are reluctant to undertake formal learning and to speed up and streamline the process of RPL for credit towards qualifications, such as the SVQ Health and Social Care.

The pilot organisations in the second evaluation stage were:

  • Viewpoint
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Inclusion Glasgow and
  • C-change Perth and Kinross Council

The value of the RPL process in terms of increasing learner confidence and motivation were confirmed.  RPL promotes a positive view of learning - it values and builds on existing knowledge, strengths and skills.  RPL can be used to support a preparatory, formative recognition process for a wide range of qualifications at all levels.  RPL provides a useful preparation in learning how to think and write reflectively and can lessen the fear of undertaking a formal programme of learning or a qualification.

Learners and mentors reported that greater self-confidence generated through the identification of strengths and skills developed through prior experiences and their relevance to their current work roles has led to greater self confidence within the workplace itself. The project has generated enthusiasm and momentum for the wider applicability of the RPL process within the sector as part of workforce development strategies.

View the RPL Evaluation Report.

For further information about the RPL resources and guidance contact Dr Alison Harold at the Scottish Social Services Council on 01382 207355 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Recognition of Prior Informal Learning

If you would like a quick overview of the Recognition of Prior Informal Learning (RPL): guidance and resources view the RPL Leaflet.   This is a useful document to distribute to anyone who may be interested in RPL