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University Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning

As approved by Academic Council 25th January 2006

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) at the University of Limerick encompasses all types of prior learning including, Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL), Accreditation of Prior Learning and Achievement (APL&A), Recognition of Current Competencies (RCC), Learning Outside Formal Teaching (LOFT).

Definition of RPL
RPL is an assessment process to determine the extent of the achievement of an applicant of the learning outcomes, competency, or standards for entry into and partial completion of a programme of study. The prior learning may have been acquired by formal, non-formal or informal routes.

Purpose of RPL
RPL shall be used for the following purposes at the University of Limerick:

* to enable applicants to gain entry to a programme of the University;
* to award credits for part of a programme of study;
* to award exemptions for some programme requirements;

Recognition of prior learning
In applying RPL the University will be cognisant of the need to ensure that the integrity of its awards is rigorously guarded and that academic standards are maintained. The learning achieved by the applicant must be equivalent to the learning outcomes or performance criteria already set down for the programme of study and must be supported by evidence as required by the University. Awards will not be given more than once for the same learning achievement where this has taken place either within the University of Limerick or where this has take place in other institutions.

The University may determine that the evidence may be provided in a number of ways including:

  • participation in exactly the same form of assessment as other students entering or already on the programme of study;
  • portfolio;
  • demonstrated skill or competence;
  • reflective papers or journal articles that relate previous learning to the stated learning outcomes of the programme or module in question;
  • evidence from the workplace or other setting where the student has applied their learning or competence;
  • testimonials of learning or competence.

Assessment of RPL

  • The process will be timely, fair and transparent.
  • The process will be based on evidence provided by the applicant.
  • The recognition will result in grades being awarded for modules except in the case where exemptions are given.
  • The process will be equitable, valid and reliable.
  • The decisions will be accountable and transparent
  • The applicant will have the right to appeal.
  • The evidence and the rationale on which decisions are made will be recorded and retained by the University.

Information for applicants and supporting procedures
Applicants will be provided with sufficient information and guidance on the process to assist them in making their application. Information will be provided to applicants about the learning outcomes of the programmes of study and modules for which RPL can be used to gain access or exemption.