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Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Policy Number:204 
Title: Recognition of Prior Learning Policy
Last Revised Date: 3rd July 2023
Policy Version: Vol. 1


Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

1. Introduction

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy is designed to recognize and value the knowledge, skills, and experience that individuals have gained through prior learning and experience, and to provide them with opportunities to gain credit towards a degree program at the University. The process of RPL is used when a student has proof of acquiring knowledge in the past, but has not obtained official recognition for it in the form of a certification or qualification. Courses accepted under this clause list as a recognition of prior learning (RPL) on the official transcript and carry no grade designation.
The regulations regarding RPL outlined below are valid for Eton University’s own programs and might not be applicable to programs delivered in partnership with other institutions. 

2. Definitions

Learning Outcomes: the set of knowledge and skills a person is expected to acquire and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning. 
Program Overview/Program Handbook: a comprehensive summary of the objectives, structure, requirements, and outcomes of a particular academic program offered by a University. The overview/handbook typically includes a description of the program's goals and learning outcomes, as well as the courses and prerequisites required to complete the program.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): a process of evaluating and giving credit to an individual's knowledge, skills, and experiences gained through non-formal or informal learning. RPL recognizes that learning can occur in various settings, including work experience, self-study, volunteering, and training courses outside formal education. 

RPL Assessment: a process of evaluating and determining the extent to which an individual's prior learning, knowledge, skills, and experiences correspond to the learning outcomes of a specific course or program.

Academic Portfolio: Academic portfolios created for RPL assessment demonstrate a student's learning through work, seminars, courses, or life experience. They are used to fulfill credit requirements and typically include a written narrative and supporting documentation, such as examples of work or projects completed, reflective essays, and other materials that demonstrate the student's learning and skills against the module’s learning outcomes. The portfolio may also include feedback or evaluations from supervisors, mentors, or instructors. It is important to note that academic portfolios are not simply collections of certificates or diplomas, but rather carefully crafted documents that showcase the individual's learning and competencies. 

3. Scope

The RPL policy applies to all individuals who are seeking admission to degree programs at the University and who wish to have their prior learning and experience recognized. This includes individuals who have completed formal and non-formal education and training for which they have not received the credit, as well as those who have gained knowledge and skills through work, volunteering, and other non-formal learning experiences.

4. Principles

Recognition of Prior Learning policy can help to ensure that credit is awarded fairly and appropriately, and that learners receive the recognition and credit they deserve for their prior learning experiences. The RPL assessment processes must demonstrate that the evidence complies with the following principles:

  • Transparency: Credit transfer regulations and processes must be transparent, accessible, and clearly communicated to students, faculty, and staff.

  • Consistency: Credit transfer policy must be applied consistently to all students, regardless of their background, or program.

  • Validity and timeliness: Credit should only be awarded for prior learning that is relevant and appropriate to the learning outcomes of the course or program in question. The assessment process must demonstrate that the evidence is valid and current, meaning the knowledge, skills, and competencies of the learner meet up-to-date demands.

  • Adequacy: The prior learning should be sufficient in scope and depth to demonstrate that the learner has achieved the learning outcomes of the course or program. To meet the assessment criteria or learning outcomes, there should be ample evidence available. 

  • Authenticity: The prior learning should be authentic and verifiable, meaning it can be confirmed through appropriate evidence, (such as work samples, references, or assessments), that the work submitted is indeed the work of a learner.

  • Timeliness: Credit transfer policy must ensure that transfer evaluations are completed in a timely manner, allowing students to make informed decisions about their academic pathway.


5. Eligibility and evidence

To be eligible for recognition of prior learning, individuals must demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes of the relevant courses or modules in which they seek credit. This may be done through a variety of means, including:

  • Providing evidence of work experience, including job descriptions, references, and performance appraisals

  • Providing evidence of non-formal learning, such as training courses, workshops, and seminars.

  • Completing assessments or examinations to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

  • Academic interview

  • Academic Portfolio - typically includes a written narrative presentation and supporting documentation, assembled and submitted for assessment of learning equivalent to a specific course  learning outcomes. Credit will be awarded for learning which demonstrates both knowledge of theory and practical application.  

  • Doctoral candidates- To be eligible for RPL, they must provide a comprehensive portfolio of evidence showcasing their prior research, scholarly contributions, publications, professional experiences, or other relevant accomplishments. 

6. Maximum Credits Transferable

Each credit transfer applicant’s case is reviewed as an individual and assessment is carried out to determine the amount of credits that may be awarded, which is not always the same as the maximum amount allowed. The maximum number of credits that can be awarded varies depending on the level of the program. Generally, the following is applicable: 

6.1 Undergraduate and graduate programs: 
Eton University follows a standard in which up to 50% of the total undergraduate program credits can be obtained through RPL. The remaining 50% of the credits must be earned at Eton University. 

In the event where the learner is combining Credit Transfer with RPL, the maximum credits awarded through both processes combined cannot exceed 75% of the total course credits. For example, if 50% of the credits are obtained through Credit Transfer, the experiential credit allowance will be limited to 25%.

6.2. Postgraduate Programs
A professional doctoral degree program may permit gaining credits through RPL process in the maximum range of 25%-35% of the total required credits. This is the maximum allowed amount of credits that can be earned through either Credit Transfer or RPL process. It is important to note that credits that can be obtained through RPL are restricted to taught modules only and cannot be awarded for the dissertation component of the program. 

7. RPL Application Process

The following procedure will be followed for recognition of prior learning:

  • Consultation: Individuals who wish to have their prior learning recognized can reach out to student advisor manager or admissions department (⦁, ), who will familiarize them with the process, discuss the requirements, share the Program Handbook for their intended course of study and the RPL application form. This step should help the applicant understand whether they are eligible for RPL and how they can indicate the relationship between the program learning outcomes and their portfolio of evidence. 

  • Application and document submission: After the consultation, the student can submit an application and relevant documents to the Admission Manager. This normally involves the following:

    • A completed RPL application Form,

    • Supporting evidence of their prior learning and experience which will be assessed against the learning outcomes of the relevant modules

  • Initial review: The Admission Manager will conduct an initial review of the application and if complete, forward it to the appropriate Academic Manager/Dean 

  • Evaluation: Applications that pass the initial screening  by admissions will be assigned to subject matter experts who possess the relevant knowledge and expertise in the field. These experts will thoroughly assess the evidence provided by the candidate, evaluating its relevance and alignment with the learning outcomes of the program. This evaluation process may include reviewing work samples, certifications, portfolios, contacting referees, conducting academic interview and reviewing any other evidence that demonstrates the candidate's competence and achievement.

  • Outcome announcement: Within four weeks of submitting the application, the student will be notified of the outcome electronically via a letter of decision. If a RPL application is unsuccessful, the notification sent to the student will include the reasons for such decision. If the student is accepted and agrees with the offer, he or she must sign the acceptance letter and send it back to the university.

  • Processing: After the acceptance letter, Admissions will create enrollment agreement, payment details, and study plan. Once the student has completed all required payments and signed the enrollment agreement, he or she can start studying according to the agreed-upon plan.


8. RPL Cost

At Eton University we currently do not charge any fees for RPL evaluations. The student is expected to pay the standard price of the program regardless of how many credits are approved for exemption, which means that RPL does not decrease the price of the program. 
It is important to note that the applicants for credit transfer need to pay standard program application fees, however, if their application for the RPL is unsuccessful and they do not wish to proceed with enrolling into the program to study it in full, the application fee will be refunded. 


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