UCC Adult courses

Continuing Professional Development in Recognition of Prior Learning - Cert

Course Fact File
Duration12 weeks
Teaching ModePart-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.
NFQ LevelLevel 7
NFQ Award TitleSpecial Purpose Award
Fees€550 See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing DateAugust 2024
Next IntakeSeptember 2024


Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

This Certificate in Continuing Professional Development in RPL is the only course of its kind in Ireland.  This Special Purpose Award of 10 Credits has been designed specifically for Adult and Community Educators to support their work in the use of RPL when dealing with marginalised and vulnerable groups, and employees with low educational qualifications. It will also build the capacity of staff for their own professional development and career opportunities. Participants will develop an awareness and understanding of RPL policy and practice while simultaneously providing them with the tools to practice RPL. The course will foster a collaborative approach to learning through the inclusion of the Peer Learning Triads which will build the expertise and capacity of adult and community educators across the entire Community Education sector in Ireland, thereby establishing a Community of Practice for RPL within the sector.

The Modules for the Certificate are as follows:

  • GV1801: An Introduction to the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
  • GV1802: Case Study of RPL Practice

Course Queries

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator Dr Patricia McGrath at patriciamcgrath@ucc.ie

For Online Application Support please click here. 

If you require further assistance with your online application please contact the Programme Administrator Deborah Kerrisk at deborah.kerrisk@ucc.ie


Additional Teaching Mode Information

This part-time Certificate in CPD is designed for an online delivery.  It will be delivered over 12 weeks with weekly online webinars and some workshop components on Thursday mornings. The course will also include a Peer Triad Approach to Learning whereby students engage with each other in small groups of three. These triad meetings will be held virtually.

Course Practicalities

This Certificate in Continuing Professional Development in RPL is developed in conjunction to an important strategic initiative led by Aontas, building on the capacity and reach of the CEN and informed by the unique expertise residing in communities. The part-time programme will be delivered as two 5 credit modules, each with 12 hours online webinars; 6 supporting tutorial hours; 6 hours of Peer Triad Engagement; plus, self-directed learning via the peer triads. Students are expected to undertake self-directed study in addition to their peer triad groups. The course is wholly assessed through continuous assessment. Students will have the opportunity to develop their skill in the use of RPL by practising it themselves and preparing a case study.

Community Education Practitioners who take this course will have full access to all of UCC’s supports and services including the Boole Library Services and the Skills Centre. The course is delivered via the Virtual Learning Environment CANVAS. All course materials will be made available.

The online delivery of the Certificate in CPD allows for staff from various Community Education Organisations around the country to interact with each other. This approach enhances the peer triad learning component of the course while simultaneously building the expertise of adult and community educators across the entire sector.

Why Choose This Course

This Level 7  Certificate in Continuing Professional Development in RPL is designed specifically for adult and community practitioners including tutors, staff, guidance counsellors, those working Adult Guidance and Information Services, and management who deal with:

Learners with low educational attainment in employment;

Lone parents;



People with disabilities;

Marginalised and vulnerable adults.

This course is delivered wholly online over 12 weeks through our Virtual Learning Environment CANVAS. This will facilitate those practicing within the Community Education Sector around the country to participate.

Participants can avail of all of UCC’s Services including access to the Boole Library (and its online resources). https://www.ucc.ie/en/students/

Course delivery will be supported by the UCC’s VLE CANVAS platform and Panopto which will facilitate the delivery of live lectures, discussion boards, online quizzes and workshops. Microsoft Teams and GoogleMeet will facilitate live interactive chat and virtual meetings for the peer triads.

The online delivery of the Certificate in CPD allows for staff from various Community Education Organisations around the country to interact with each other. This approach enhances the peer triad learning component of the course while simultaneously building the expertise of adult and community educators across the entire sector.

It is important for the adult and community education sector to be familiar with RPL policy, in order to meet QA obligations, and also to build capacity to be involved in shaping policy. The purpose of the course is to prepare community educators to practice RPL in their own centres with knowledge on practices, potential pathways, and validation opportunities. Essentially it will provide education and training in the practice of RPL for tutors/staff. Familiarity and practice with RPL policies will help community education workers to address the quality assurance obligations for their courses. It will also build capacity for those involved in shaping policy.

The course provides a step-by-step approach to the practice of RPL. It will help community educators to develop their skill in supporting their students through an RPL application process thereby facilitating students to further progress their educational opportunities.

‘Students will be invited to join the AONTAS led RPL Community of Practice Network’ where RPL Practitioners share knowledge and experience through quarterly meetings online’.


Skills and Careers Information

As a Certificate in Continuing Professional Development, this course will enhance the employment prospects and/or provide additional job security for those working in the community education sector. The CPD aspect is an additional advantage of the course.


Candidates must be practicing adult or community education staff. Applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application; 
  • Be working as an educator/practitioner in the Adult and Community Education Sector;
  • English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6 or the equivalent TOEFL score

Fees and Costs


For further information on fees and financial supports please click here.

How To Apply

UCC identifies the following technical requirements checklist for students registering in 2020/21:

1.    You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.

2.    Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) Links to an external site.) also have mobile apps for iOS and Android Devices that you may wish to use as part of your studies.  However, we recommend using your desktop web browser for submission of assessments and exams.

3.    You should always use the most current version of your preferred browser. In general, we recommend the Chrome Web browser (Important Note: Internet Explorer will not work with Canvas).

4.    We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.

5.    You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office or equivalent) and a PDF reader. You should always use the latest version of this software.  All UCC students have access to Office 365. By going to https://portal.office.com/account/ . you can download and install the latest version of Microsoft Office,  which includes software such as Word/Excel/Powerpoint etc.

Applicants will additionally require basic computing proficiency skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Office software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams.

To Apply for this course please follow the steps below:

When you log into the Application Portal:

Click Apply Online

Select Start a new Adult & Continuing Education Application 

On the 2nd tab Academic Level 
Select the following options:
Academic Level: Adult Continuing Education (ACE at UCC)
Course Type:  ACE Part-time Courses
Academic Programme: The course title you are applying for.

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Candidates will be asked for a brief 200 word summary outlining their reasons for applying for this course.
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • 50% of the fees are also required to complete your application. 



Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact