The CAPLA RPL Standards Working Group is comprised of CAPLA members who are interested in the further development of PLAR/RPL standards and guidelines. As a committee of CAPLA, formed in 2008, the initial group of approximately 20 members from all regions of Canada and all facets of PLAR/RPL work, developed and agreed on the Terms of Reference (June 2008).
The CAPLA RPL Standards Working Group’s purpose is to facilitate and promote discussion regarding development, validation and implementation of:
- standards and guidelines for the practice of RPL in Canada, and
- voluntary standards and certification for individual RPL practitioners
The RPL Standards Working Group’s role is to lead discussion with the CAPLA Board, CAPLA membership and other stakeholders on a framework for, the need for, and desire for voluntary standards and guidelines for the practice of RPL and for the training and certification of RPL practitioners.
Current RPL Standards Working Group Initiatives
In August 2013, CAPLA received project funding support from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to create a manual based on Pan Canadian Quality Assurances Guidelines for RPL to enhance the quality of RPL practices, contribute to organizational effectiveness and promote labour force development. Current RPL Standards Working Group members were invited to join the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) for CAPLA’s Pan Canadian RPL and Quality Assurance Project (www.capla.ca/quality-assurance). The RPL Standards Working Group will actively contribute to this important project initiative. The project is to be completed by January 2016.
Highlights of the RPL Standards Working Group Initiatives (2008-2014)
In October 2008, the RPL Standards Working Group facilitated a one day pre-conference workshop - Voluntary Standards and Guidelines for RPL at the CAPLA 2008 RPL: Building on a Decade of Collaboration and Innovation conference in Banff. The pre-conference day focused on the issue of voluntary standards and guidelines for the RPL practitioner and the field of practice. Participants explored the importance of voluntary standards and the values which underpin a standards setting exercise, speculated how voluntary standards would support their work, future activities and strategic alliances to support further progress. A workshop on Voluntary Standards and Guidelines for RPL, including the results of the pre conference day was shared with conference participants.
In fall 2009, work began on a report as the legacy piece to the CAPLA 2008 conference RPL: Building on a Decade of Collaboration and Innovation. A draft report RPL Standards and Guidelines for Canada: Mapping the Road Ahead was presented to the RPL Standards Working Group for their review and recommendations. The Working Group provided excellent suggestions and recommendations to enhance the report. The final report RPL Standards and Guidelines in Canada: Mapping the Road Ahead, prepared by Lauren Waples and the RPL Standards Working Group, was shared with conference participants at the CAPLA Fall Focus Workshop November 2009 in Toronto. The report was also shared with CAPLA’s newly formed Pan Canadian Strategic Advisory Panel on RPL.
The Chair of the RPL Standards Working Group, Deb Blower, assisted International PLA Network (IPLAN) Chair, Gail Hall, with the planning of CAPLA’s first international webinar—an exchange between Australia and Canada. The IPLAN Canada-Australia Exchange on RPL Practitioner Competencies and Assessment webinar was held in October 2011 with thirty (30) participants joining the online session. There were two RPL presentations from Australia – Kerry Rock presented Competencies for the Group Recognition Practitioner focusing on the Group Recognition process in the workplace and the required assessor competencies. The second presenter, Glen Knight presented on improving RPL assessment practices. Deb Blower, Chair RPL Standards Working Group presented on CAPLA’s PLAR/RPL Practitioner Competencies and Philip Mondor, RPL Standards Working Group presented on the standards and certification potential for RPL practitioners sharing key information from the Setting the Standard (2009) report prepared by the Alliance of Sector Councils (TASC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
At the November 2011, CAPLA Fall Focus Workshop Cashing in on the Riches of Prior Learning, the RPL Standards Working Group and CAPLA’s International PLA Network (IPLAN) facilitated a workshop for 35 participants on Using RPL Practitioner Competency Profiles. The session included a brief live exchange with delegates from Scotland’s RPL Conference. This workshop is available on the CAPLA website at CAPLA.ca.
In June 2012, the CAPLA Board of Directors participated in a webinar on RPL Practitioner Standards and Certification facilitated by Philip Mondor, CAPLA Board member and VP, Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC), to explore the development of occupational standards and a quality process for voluntary certification. The CAPLA Board of Directors confirmed its intent to further explore occupational standards for RPL practitioners (advisors, assessors, administrators). With the CAPLA RPL Standards Working Group taking a key lead in the approach, essential next steps were identified/explored and a draft proposal to begin work on this was developed.
In September 2012, CAPLA hosted a webinar on the UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-Formal and Informal Learning: Critical success factors in applying them.
At the 2012 CAPLA Conference in Halifax, Arne Carlsen, Director of UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, provided a keynote address on the UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-Formal and Informal Learning. A workshop session Moving Forward on RPL Standards and Guidelines in Canada presented by Elisabeth Barot, Program Officer-Education, Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Philip Mondor, Senior VP, Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, and Deb Blower, Chair of CAPLA’s RPL Standards Working Group, provided the opportunity to explore the RVA Guidelines, their use in the Canadian context and how these guidelines can be moved forward in Canada and internationally to strengthen RPL systems and practices for all stakeholders. The UNESCO RVA Guidelines were further discussed at the Strategic Advisory Panel on RPL meeting, held following the 2012 CAPLA Conference.
In 2013, as part of the pre-conference sessions at CAPLA’s Fall Focus Workshop, a workshop hosted by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) - Recognition of Learning (ROL) Affinity Group on Exploring Competencies for Quality RPL Practice - Advising, Assessing and Administering/Facilitating Systems - What’s Key? was facilitated. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for learning and discussion relevant to CAPLA’s PLAR/RPL Practitioner Competencies.