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The original document has been approved by the University of Lapland Council on 7 June 2010.
The updated document in hand was approved by the University of Lapland Board on 16 June 2014.

Recognition and Accreditation of Prior Learning (RPL) at the University of Lapland

This document describes the system for recognizing prior learning at the University of Lapland. The faculties and units may have more detailed instructions concerning their RPL procedures.

This document supplements the general principles of recognition of prior learning laid down in section 44 of the Universities Act (558/2009) and in section 8 of the Degree Regulations of the University of Lapland (16.6.2014).

Recognition of Prior Experiential  Learning (RPEL)

You may also use skills achieved through other than formal education to substitute degree studies. You may have achieved skills through e.g. non-formal learning (further education, short programs at the workplace, adult education training, etc.) or informal learning (work practice, positions of trust, learning through free time activities, etc.).   The focus is not on experience as such but on the knowledge and skills achieved through it.

The recognition of skills achieved through experience is based on the learning outcomes of courses and study modules.  The skills achieved are compared with the learning outcomes of the courses and/or study modules to be compensated. If the skills and the? learning outcomes correspond to each other, then full or partial substitution may be granted. Besides documentation, an additional demonstration of the student’s skills may be required.

Applying for RPEL

Before applying for credit transfer, discuss it with your study plan supervisor (teacher tutor) and include the course to be transferred in your personal study plan. Apply for RPEL well before the studies in question begin. In practice, you should apply for all recognitions at the beginning of studies. Also Open University students and those studying at the University of Lapland with a separate permit may apply for RPEL from the faculties. These persons must be registered as attending students, and the RPEL is to concern the parts of study modules which they have a valid right to study.

Apply for RPEL using the appropriate form that can be printed out on the Internet pages of the faculties and Language Centre. Describe at least the following:
•    how much and what type of experience you have
•    what kinds of skills you have achieved through your experience
•    how the skills correspond to the learning outcomes of the courses and/or study modules proposed to be substituted
•    which courses and study modules the skills-based recognition concerns.

To enable assessment of the RPEL, your form must include a sufficient number of attachments, for example diplomas, letters of reference, portfolios, learning diaries, publications and other written reports, or other documented demonstrations of the skills you have achieved. However, the main thing is not to hand in mere documents but to use the documents to present a picture of your skills in relation to the learning outcomes of the studies in question.

Deliver the form and its attachments to the RPL responsible of the faculty or the Language Centre. If needed, the faculties and the Language Centre provide further instructions on the documentation and the necessary attachments.

An incomplete application that is not supplemented by an issued deadline is typically rejected.

Decision on RPEL

The material on prior experiential learning (the form, portfolio, and other attachments) delivered by the student is handled in a subject/field-specific meeting, in which also the RPL responsible of the faculty or the Language Centre is present. Based on the material, a decision is made by the subject representative and the RPL responsible 1) to grant recognition to study modules, courses, or their parts, or 2) to require the student to present an additional demonstration of his/her skills, or 3) to reject the application. The additional demonstration may be e.g. a demonstration examination, an interview, an oral portfolio presentation, or a written report. Skills may also be demonstrated by taking an RPEL exam that is arranged on a general examination day or on the Language Centre's make-up exam day. The RPEL exam is used to find out whether the student already has the skills stated in the learning outcomes of a course (or a study module). The exam centres solely on the learning outcomes, not on course literature. Taking the exam requires the above-mentioned RPEL procedure and its decision, and thereby permission to demonstrate one’s skills through the exam. The RPEL exam can only be taken once, and registration is done according to the normal registration procedure.
Recognition based on skills achieved through other than formal education is graded on the scale pass/fail. The grade ‘pass’ may be given if the skills achieved through prior experiential learning can be seen to correspond to the minimum target skill level set for the courses and/or study modules to be substituted.

The RPEL decision is, as a rule, made within a month from turning in the application and the appropriate attachments. An application delivered in June or July is normally decided on by the end of August. The decision shows the possible additional demonstrations that are needed and sets a deadline for them. The final decision is made within a month from the additional demonstration.

Notification, registering, and storing of RPEL

The student will get a copy of the RPEL decision, including the grounds for it. The decision contains the decision-maker’s contact information for further inquiries and the rectification instructions.

An approved or partly approved recognition is stored in the credit record. The credit record will indicate that the recognition has been made through the RPEL procedure. The recorded date of the attainment is that of the RPEL decision. A short description on the following is registered in the additional details of a course or study module: the skills on the basis of which recognition has been approved and the part of the course to be taken in the case of a partly approved recognition On a credit record transcript the recognized courses and study modules are indicated with a compensated-sign and with the grade ‘pass’. RPEL is not shown in the actual degree diploma.

RPEL decisions are are filed in the faculty and the Language Centre at least until the student’s graduation.

Rectification of a decision

If you do not agree with the RPEL decision, you may request orally or in writing a rectification from the person who made the decision. You must make the rectification request within 14 days from the moment you were informed about the decision. Deliver the request to the head of study affairs. Describe very clearly the part of the decision you are referring to and the grounds for the rectification.

The person who made the decision must provide a decision on the rectification request within one month after it was sent in. The rectification decision must be made in writing.

If you do not agree with the RPEL rectification decision, you may ask for an appeal from the appellate committee of the University of Lapland. You can ask for an appeal within 14 days from being informed about the rectification decision. Deliver the form of appeal to the University Registry. The appellate committee is subject to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the University of Lapland. No appeal may be lodged against the ruling of the appellate committee (Universities Act, Section 84).

The RPEL contact person at the Language Centre:
Study Coordinator Anita Fagerström