RPL Included in New Upskilling Courses for Staff in Higher Education

December 21, 2023
Open Courses Graphic


The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, in collaboration with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Higher Education Authority, has announced an array of new Open Courses for professional development. Notably, this initiative includes the Recognition of Prior Learning as one of the key courses offered.


This inclusion represents a significant advancement for RPL, particularly from the perspective of staff development. By integrating RPL into this initiative, we are witnessing a proactive step towards enhancing the flexibility and accessibility of professional development for educators. This move aligns with our commitment to fostering a learner-centric, inclusive approach in higher education as, for the first time higher education staff will be able to do the RPL Digital Badge at a time and pace of their choosing. Giving staff that flexibility is key in continuing to enhance and extend RPL services for learners and business.


Ten new Open Courses are being announced spanning a range of areas such as: the use of technologies to support learner inclusion; recognition of prior learning; cyber-security awareness; artificial intelligence; circular economy and sustainable development

This selection of Open Courses is a strategic response to elevate the professional development landscape for academic staff across Ireland, providing them with the tools and insights necessary to excel in a rapidly evolving educational environment. These Open Courses, aligned with the National Professional Development Framework for all Staff who Teach in Higher Education, continue to build on the success of previous years, supporting over 5,000 professional development digital badges and training more than 600 facilitators since 2017.

CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall, said “The HEA is committed to empowering educators through these innovative Open Courses. Each course is a step forward in enhancing the pedagogical skills of our educators and maintaining Ireland’s reputation for high-quality education.”

Professor Marie Clarke, chairperson of the National Forum, added “These Open Courses represent the forefront of educational innovation, and we are excited to see how they will contribute to the ongoing enhancement of teaching and learning within the sector.”

Set to launch from January 2024, with rollouts scheduled for the spring and autumn of the same year, these courses represent a significant step towards fostering a culture of professional growth and pedagogical advancement in higher education teaching. For more information on the Open Courses and future enrolment, please visit