MOOC on Recognition of Prior Learning

MOOC on Recognition of Prior Learning

MOOC on Recognition of Prior Learning

31 January–18 March 2022
The course is available in English
Introduction to the course

The ITCILO and ILO's Employment Department, Skills and Employability Branch join forces to organize the first edition of this free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a policy tool that most countries wish to fully implement in order to give workers operating in their territory the opportunity, throughout their lives, to certify competences acquired outside formal education and training systems.

This MOOC showcases both existing and emerging recognition of prior learning(RPL) practices from around the world. The MOOC unfolds over seven weeks as it describes, discusses and explores RPL from the basic definitions, underpinning theories, typical processes, assessment design, and key trends in digitalisation and the incorporation of micro learning. On the MOOC you hear, first hand, from the implementers and practitioners themselves as they describe their practices.

This eLearning training offer is part of the ITCILO's extensive Skills Development portfolio, which targets worldwide capacity building needs to support the implementation of TVET and skills development programs around the globe.


Who attends this course?


There are two key target groups, who are accommodated by the unique design of the MOOC. The MOOC is, in fact, two courses in one:

  • RPL Essentials course (weeks 1 - 3), which is designed for those people who are new to RPL who need a quick overview of the key features, processes and practices of RPL.
  • RPL Development course (weeks 1 - 7), which is designed for those who need deeper insight into the underpinning theory of RPL, the systemic enablers, assessment tool design, e-RPL and advocacy.

Interested individuals belong to the following non-exhaustive list of target groups:

  • Policy makers and technical advisors in Ministries working in the field of skills development, TVET, qualification systems and RPL
  • Representatives and staff of national and sectoral agencies working on qualifications and RPL
  • Members of skills councils, national TVET authorities or similar institutions
  • Representatives of workers' and employers' organizations involved in RPL and transitions
  • Experts and technical staff working in the field of TVET planning and skills development
  • Experts and technical staff from CSOs, NGOs and other civil society actors, working in the field of skills development, TVET, qualifications and RPL.

The final beneficiaries of the MOOC will be a wide range of individuals and groups benefiting from specific and demand-driven RPL systems. This includes jobseekers of all ages and backgrounds, especially young people and recent graduates, workers in the informal economy, current and future TVET trainees and apprentices, planners in the skills development, TVET and education sectors, RPL specialists and qualification systems experts, curriculum developers and staff of vocational training institutions.



Given the unique and unrivalled position of the ILO in the RPL arena, the MOOC will put participants and their organizations at the heart of current debate and policy options on the topic. By the end of the MOOC, participants will have acquired a holistic understanding of key characteristics of RPL, with clear learning outcomes stated at the beginning of each module.

The general objectives of the MOOC are the following:

  • To create a level of shared understanding to elevate RPL to become a mainstream human resource development activity throughout the world
  • To showcase and learn from international experiences of RPL practitioners
  • To act as a repository of RPL good / innovative practices to increase knowledge, research and further learning
  • Capture voices of practitioners.

Participants will leave this course connected to a global network of RPL policy-makers and practitioners involved in advancing RPL agenda throughout the world, which will build towards an impressive body of knowledge on the topic.


The course will consist of the following seven learning units, which will be covered each in one of the seven weeks of the MOOC, as follows:

  • Week 1: overview of RPL where we cover definitions, purposes, principles, types, contexts, barriers, target candidates, contexts and the VPL Berlin declaration. 
  • Week 2: we explore a typical RPL process from the time to candidate applies for RPL to the time they exit the process.
  • Week 3: we will listen to international practitioners and candidates to learn how RPL is being implemented in variety of contexts and for a range of different purposes.
  • Week 4: we cover the theory that underpins RPL practices and we explore the concept of adult learning and the emerging theory of RPL as a pedagogy in its own right.
  • Week 5: we look at how RPL assessment instruments are designed, and we consider the various RPL tools we could use to conduct the RPL .
  • Week 6: considers the broader systemic issues around RPL and look at the ones that can both enable and hinder RPL implementation.
  • Week 7: considers the emerging digitalization of RPL, with examples of where this is already happening. We also explore advocacy for RPL and look at some emerging and good practices from around the world.

This innovative MOOC has been designed according to a learner-centred approach in order to better involve participants and keep them motivated. It is highly interactive and engaging, using different methods throughout the seven modules of the course to make the content interesting, relevant and entertaining.

Each module of the MOOC is structured in a similar way:

  • Each week is made up of two or three short modules.
  • In the first module, there is an introduction and the learning outcomes for each module are presented. This is followed by a pre-course self-quiz so the participant can see where s/he is knowledge-wise.
  • The content is then presented, using a carefully designed combination of narrated e-learning, video, interviews with experts, self-reflection questions and discussion forum debates.
  • At the end of weeks 3 and 7 (the end of the two courses in the MOOC) there is a short, 300 word project that will be marked by two fellow participants. Each participant will also be called upon to mark two other projects and provide feedback.
  • Participants who feel they know and understand a module can move on without needing to complete it (in other words, they can RPL it!)
  • There is an end of week, post-course quiz each week. 
  • A certificate will be issued for each for the two courses to participants who complete the required assessments

Participants will be required to have a good knowledge of written English, as training materials will be available on the e-platform in this language




If you wish to participate in this course, please fill in the online application available here:



International Training Centre of the ILO

Employment Policy and Analysis

Programme (EPAP)

Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10

10127 Turin – Italy

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