Co-producing a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Toolkit for Adult Educators: Reflections on the REAL Deal?



Galloway S & Edwards R (2017) Co-producing a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Toolkit for Adult Educators: Reflections on the REAL Deal?. Studies in the Education of Adults, 49 (1), pp. 109-125.

Adult education is a very diverse arena of practice internationally, operating across the public, private and non-profit sectors, with educators and learners coming from all walks of life. In many countries there is no formal route to becoming a qualified adult educator as there is in relation to school teaching, or the qualification of Higher or Further education professionals. Many experienced, knowledgeable and competent adult educators have no formal teaching qualification which in varying situations is a matter of concern for policy-makers and organisational managers, as well as the practitioners themselves. One way of addressing this lack of qualification is through processes of recognition of prior learning (RPL). This article reports on the work of the REAL Project which aimed to enable adult educators to formatively assess the possibility of making a claim for academic credit against adult education qualifications, through the creation of an RPL toolkit. The REAL Project approach was to co-develop the toolkit alongside adult educators, where significantly, co-production was undertaken as an educational activity. In this article we examine some of the issues that emerge from adopting such an approach in this type of project. The writing is in three sections. First, we outline some of the existing research on co-production in service development. Second, we provide an account of the co-production approach that was adopted in the REAL project. Finally we reflect upon some of the issues raised in relation to the practices of co-production.

Adult education; APEL; APL; REAL; recognition of prior learning; RPL; RPL toolkit

Studies in the Education of Adults: Volume 49, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online23/02/2017
Date accepted by journal23/02/2016
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (2)


Professor Richard Edwards

Professor Richard Edwards

Emeritus Professor, Education

Dr Sarah Galloway

Dr Sarah Galloway

Lecturer, Education