Recognition of prior learning in Australian universities: equity, quality and global position-taking

Tim Pitman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This study aimed to investigate the recognition of prior learning (RPL) policy texts and practices at select Australian universities, the influences affecting their development and enactment, and longer-term outcomes as a result of the enactment of these policies, particularly in relation to equity in higher education. In this study, RPL refers to the assessment and recognition of prior non-formal and informal learning experiences, for the purpose of admission into, or credit towards, university studies. Since the latter half of the 20th century, and accelerating from the 1990s, national and international educational policy frameworks have referenced the increasing need to develop cultures and structures of lifelong learning, including RPL strategies and practices, in a rapidly changing knowledge era. It is often argued by educational policy makers that by fostering lifelong learning, individuals will be equipped with the "learning to learn" skills required to achieve socio-economic success in an increasingly globalised world. As part of the policy push, higher education institutions are being encouraged to do more to recognise and value non-formal and informal learning experiences. It is believed by certain of the policy elite that RPL will reduce the time and cost of tertiary studies, as we as making the higher education sector more accessible to learners from traditionally disadvantaged groups. For this study, a hybrid critical and poststructural theoretical framework guided a critical discourse analysis of the data. Critical theory allowed the researcher to focus on the ways in which the RPL policies and practices surrounding the acquisition of knowledge acted to empower some learners and disempower others. At the same time, poststructuralism was an appropriate lens with which to consider the complexity and plurality of educational policy development and enactment in a globalised environment...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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