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Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process that compares an individual’s prior learning gained not only through education but also through work and life experiences and personal study.

Credit is awarded for the learning gained and not for experience unless the experience has resulted in knowledge and skills. Students requesting credit recognition must demonstrate learning through one of the following learning types:

  • Formal learning has educational documents to support learning.  This learning is traditional and normally takes place in the classroom and/or by distance education.
  • Informal learning occurs through life experiences and day to day situations.  This type can be verified by a portfolio collection.
  • Non-formal is organized learning which occurs outside the formal learning system.  It can be achieved through external courses and programs, workplace training and community clubs and organizations.  This type can also be verified by a portfolio collection.

RPL provides the individual with an opportunity of proving their prior learning by submitting an application with portfolio.

  • Application completed
  • Application fee paid
  • Resume
  • Transcripts
  • Writing samples
  • Items created through class projects
  • Evidence of awards
  • Laboratory work
  • Research paper completed or presented
  • Papers with instructor comments and grades
  • Certificates of attendance at seminars or workshops (including program)
  • Documentation of leadership experience
  • Flyers or other promotional materials you designed
  • Evidence from volunteer, internship and/or paid experiences
  • Licenses or certifications obtained
  • Positive evaluations from previous employers and/or teachers
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Philosophy statement
  • Personal mission statement
  • Professional organization involvement/plans
  • Examples of artistic development
  • Grants obtained relevant to academic achievement
  • Sporting awards
  • Audio tapes
  • CD with work on it
  • Reports on topics of special interest
  • Outlines and handouts from class presentations
  • Printouts of links to web pages you created

All applicants requesting course recognition through the RPL process must meet with the Advisor to review the process and determine if an application for an assessment will be completed.

If an application for assessment is completed, the applicant will be required to pay a $200 assessment fee.  This fee is non-refundable.

The applicant will then be required to submit a portfolio which needs to contain detailed documentation which articulates the learning acquired through working and life experiences.  The portfolio must describe the learning achieved from prior experiences and verifies the learning through documentation or proof. It must show equivalence to the learning outcomes that would be relevant to post-secondary education.

The Advisor will continue to provide guidance and support to the applicant throughout the information gathering process.  Once this has been completed and the portfolio is ready to be reviewed, the Advisor will liaise with the Facilitator to begin the assessment process.  The process will begin with:

  • Examination of portfolio by the Advisor and ARP Committee
  • Applicant interviewed by the Advisor and ARP Committee
  • The Advisor will meet with Assessor(s) to determine course recognition credits (non-equivalent credits, if any)
  • The applicant will receive in writing the decision from the University Registrar on behalf of the ARP Committee
  • If course recognition is granted, the Advisor will update the student record and issue a Statement of RPL credits awarded

The Committee’s decision is considered to be a final decision but in the case where the applicant files an appeal under exceptional circumstances, the Committee will meet and further discuss the appeal.  In the event the appeal is not granted, the decision will remain final.

RPL services will be provided by:

  • Facilitator:  Registrar
  • Advisor:  Admissions, Office of the Registrar
  • Assessors:  Admissions, ARP committee, full-time faculty member(s) in the discipline in which the individual seeks recognition of prior learning
  • Committee: All formal requests will be submitted to the Senate Committee on Academic Regulations and Petitions for final approval

The following is a list of duties associated with each position:

  • Facilitator:  is responsible for the implementation, promotion and monitoring of the activities and procedures.
  • Advisor:  provides information regarding the process and opportunities available, provides guidance for the learners during the process and liaises with the Facilitator and Assessors.
  • Assessors:  are the Advisor, ARP committee (supplemented by a discipline-specific, full-time faculty member(s) when necessary who will assist in the assessment) who complete the assessment and make the decision towards credit being granted, if any.  ARP will be advised if the student is challenging the final appraisal of course recognition.
  • Committee:  reviews and evaluates the portfolios and makes the final decision for granting credits (if any) by committee consensus. The Committee monitors, reviews and revises RPL policies to reflect new changes and improvements when necessary.

The number of credits awarded through the RPL process will not exceed 18 credits.  Typically, these credits will be assigned at the first year level (non-equivalent).  Students receiving RPL transfer credits will not be eligible to receive additional transfer credits through other pathways such as college diplomas or university transfers.

Credits awarded towards an Algoma University degree will appear on the official academic transcript as a ‘block transfer’ or in exceptional cases, as direct credit, based on the evaluation of portfolio.  Courses where transfer credit has been awarded will be recorded by special notation on an official transcript. The grades of transfer credit courses will not be used in the calculation of cumulative averages.

Credits awarded to students through the RPL process are exclusive to Algoma University. Students wishing to transfer RPL credits to another university should consult with the institutional policy of the institution they are interested in attending to determine transfer credit eligibility.

All decisions made will be considered final.  Under exceptional circumstances, an appeal may be submitted and will be reviewed by the ARP Committee to review the transfer credits awarded.

A $200 assessment fee will be charged for all applicants who request a RPL assessment.