RPL has allowed me to build on my existing qualifications by recognising what I had learned in the various jobs I had since I first left higher education.
I used the RPL process for two different programs. Having previously completed a National Certificate in Computing in Information Technology Support I wanted to explore the possibility of building on that qualification and maybe converting it into a BSc degree. I was also completing a Masters degree in Public Relations with New Media at the time. I was able to avail of an RPL exemption for the Multimedia module.
For the BSc in IT I needed to complete Year 3 of the course to obtain the degree. As I work full-time at MTU (CIT at the time) I could not register as a full-time student. However, I was delighted to find out that there was an option of completing the degree part-time by access and then I also learned that I could use RPL for experiential learning gained in the workplace. It was very handy to be able to match my professional experiences to the learning outcomes of a particular module.
Combining a full-time job and education can be very demanding. By availing of the opportunity that RPL allows provided me with a pathway that afforded me the advantage of not having to attend lectures and labs for certain modules that would have been very time-consuming. That’s not to say that there is little or no effort required in completing a module via RPL. There is a substantial piece of work to be completed to meet the requirements and standards for an RPL submission. This involved revisiting previous roles I had in various organisations and companies and sifting through projects and tasks completed as part of these roles. It meant collecting and collating a lot of material and then presenting this in a structured and cohesive form that met the RPL/module learning outcomes.
When I sat down and explored my past working life I was often amazed to see how many different projects and roles I had been involved in and actually how much I had learned. Being able to match this up with actual learning outcomes was enjoyable and very satisfying.
I believe I have learned a lot from entering higher education. Not only has it given me a firm foundation in how the business world works, but it has also taught me to be more structured and organized, both professionally and personally. It has also given me the confidence to pitch and present ideas to an audience, something I was never comfortable with before.