The WIO-COMPAS Program: RPL in Action

Lawrence Sisitka, Meg Pahad, Glenn Ricci, Michele Martel


The Western Indian Ocean Certification of Marine Protected Area Professionals (WIO-COMPAS) program is the first of its kind internationally, for the protected areas community. It provides an example of an approach to recognition of prior learning (RPL) that works in its own context and serves its own professionals. This article explores five aspects of RPL and links these to the WIO-COMPAS approach including barriers, assessment instruments and the role of assessors. Two main lessons are that RPL models need to grow organically within specific contexts, and not be imposed with a generic theoretical approach; and the recognition of the critical importance of the fundamental assessment principles as demonstrated by the rigor and the richness of this model. The WIO-COMPAS program has developed into a sound, rigorous and respected RPL model for protected area professionals. WIO-COMPAS can claim with considerable justification that it truly illustrates RPL that works.

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