Recognition of Prior Learning for Coach Awards

What is Recognition of Prior Learning and Recognition of Prior Award?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of a learner's prior learning or experience for the purpose of achieving a formal qualification. RPL recognises all types of learning a learner may have achieved, be it from formal accredited programmes, non-formal learning or learning acquired through day-to-day activities (which may be unplanned and unintentional). 

Recognition of Prior Award (RPA) is the recognition of a formal award for the purposes of achieving another formal award. RPA is limited to learning acquired from formal accredited programmes and does not include any other type of learning an individual may have. 

RPL and RPA  is used for the following purposes:

  • Non-standard entry to a programme of learning
  • Exemption from modules/elements of the programme
  • Exemption from the entire programme

Guidelines for NGBs

Sport Ireland Coaching has developed guidelines for NGBs seeking to formally recognise prior learning to gain a coaching qualification under the Coaching Development Programme for Ireland (CDPI).  Potential applicants for RPL could include, but are not limited to:


  • Coaches/instructors with qualifications from another country or jurisdiction
  • Coaches/instructors with a CDPI coach award who want to gain a CDPI coach award in another sport
  • Coaches/instructors with significant coaching experience with no formal coaching qualifications
  • High performance players/athletes who want to get a CDPI coach award


Sport Ireland Coaching advise NGBs to identify and document their policy for dealing with RPL and RPA applications to promote transparency and clarity in this area. The guidelines below identify some important areas for consideration.