RPL for accreditation in higher education - As a process of mutual understanding or merely lifeworld colonisation?

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This article focuses on a process of recognition of prior learning (RPL) in higher education. It is based on experiences from a project carried out in collaboration between the University of Lund, Linköping University and two trade unions in Sweden. The aim of the project was to find ways of recognising prior learning for accreditation of course credits at university level. In the project and its analysis, Habermas' theory of communicative action was used as theoretical underpinning. During the project we carried out a thematic analysis based on interviews. The analysis suggested that the participants had a mystified view of higher education that RPL must be considered a learning process and that the participants' prior learning can be characterised as practical wisdom. These themes guided the development of the project. In a retrospective analysis, language proficiency seemed to play a significant role for the outcome of the process. The conclusion suggests that a more fair and valid assessment of the participant's prior learning could be accomplished by focusing on RPL as a process of mutual understanding. However, a critical appraisal of the process suggests that RPL for accreditation is problematic and could be seen as a colonisation of the lifeworld.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Linköping University


Sidor (från-till)767-780
Antal sidor14
TidskriftAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
StatusPublished - 2011 dec
Peer review utfördJa