Have RPL Success: How to Collect Evidence

A quick overview of RPL evidence. Organise your knowledge and experience against a qualification. The RPL qualification must relate to your lived experience.

Evidence RPL. The RPL process is one that considers your knowledge and experience to gain a qualification. If you select a qualification that is closely related to your experience, you won’t have to attend much, if any, training.

The Best RPL POE Evidence for Assessment

The Recognition of Prior Learning POE

RPL: Why learn what you already know?

You can skip the training that inexperienced people would normally complete and jump straight to being assessed.

rpl application letter

An RPL Example

Imagine you were unable to attend college or university. You are currently employed and have accumulated experience in a field or specific job positions (eg. office administration, management, sales assistant). You have decided it’s time to get qualified but don’t have time to attend training and have found a qualification that you believe you have already earned experience against.

rpl evidence assessment poe

Your work experience can prove you have skill areas such as communication, mathematical literacy and valid employment skills in place. If you collect and create appropriate and relevant evidence to prove these competencies, you can avoid lectures and prepare for assessment.  This is key to the Recognition of Prior Learning process.

Being Assessed for Recognition of Prior Learning

Many are intimidated by assessment as they fear being unfairly judged. Current education theory encourages democratic, lateral approaches to assessment allowing for negotiation of the process and the presentation of evidence.

evidence rpl and other policies for accreditation consultation

Your evidence must meet specific assessment criteria and exit-level outcomes to be used for evaluation. RPL candidates compile portfolios of evidence that prove the presence of relevant skills, knowledge, and values.

Portfolio of Evidence for Recognition of Prior Learning

The following documentation must be contained in your RPL POE:

  • Personal details and contact information
  • Table of contents listing the various sections of the portfolio
  • Full curriculum vitae expanded to include a detailed work history
  • Include a printout of the SAQA  qualification you wish to be awarded
  • List of learning outcomes/standards for the award
  • Details of analysis recorded as COMPETENT / NOT YET COMPETENT with identified evidence referenced
  • Referenced/indexed listing of evidence – referenced to learning outcomes. For example, draw up a table, in one column list each specific outcome, in the next the assessment criteria, in the third your evidence, and finally, the page number where the evidence is found
  • Copies of correspondence/application forms etc
  • Details of meetings with mentor

The POE must also contain a combination of direct and indirect supporting evidence.

Direct Evidence RPL

  • Sometimes candidates must attend training to close specific gaps in knowledge and skill areas. Include your formative and summative evidence in your POE.
  • Project or work-based assignments
  • Evidence of work-based assessment – on-the-job assessment for work skills
  • Job specifications
  • Company organization charts
  • Personnel records of in-house training and development
  • Accounts of personal experiences
  • Employer endorsement and / testimonials
  • Prior qualifications, Certificates of Education & Training, etc
  • Training, assessment, and test results
  • Curricula /course descriptions/outcomes
  • Staff training records / personal records
  • Products of work, samples of documentation/work undertaken, photographs

Indirect Evidence RPL

Not all evidence needs to be created during learning programs. You can use evidence from the past 2 -3 years that shows what you already knew and managed to do before the program. (Check on valid time frames with your mentor. Some qualifications may only accept evidence from the past 12 months.)

  • Membership in related organisations and societies
  • General references
  • Newspaper cuttings
  • Other evidence – accounts of overseas experience, voluntary work etc
  • All relevant evidence and documents relating to the prior learning of the candidate must be identified by the candidate. Some evidence will be easily available, some will require further research through contact with present and former employers, personnel departments, trainers, personal contacts and other supportive sources.
  • Your mentor can assist you in identifying the range and types of evidence to be presented.

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  1. Good day, you are referring to a Mentor. Where can one find a Mentor to conduct RPL?

    My second question is, where can one get the information of unit standards you may apply for RPL?

    Thank you very much.


    • Hi Roda! We need to know the qualification you want RPL for. From NQF Level 5 upwards, fundamental unit standards are not the same as at levels 4 and below.

    • You would include it if it is relevant to the qualification.
      Communication and maths literacy are fundamental components of unit standard based qualifications at NQF level 4 and below. From NQF level 5, these skills are expected to be seamlessly integrated and demonstrated in your portfolio, they are not standalone.
      Always use the SAQA qualification as the reference point, pay particular attention to exit level outcomes when organising your POE.

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