General arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL = AHOT in Finnish
Learning and expertise can be acquired in many types of situations, through formal education and through everyday experiences and work. The important thing is the result of learning and the learning process, not the manner in which they took place or where or how the knowledge and skills was acquired.
Formal education usually takes place in education institutions, and learning is systematic and based on set learning objectives, the time allocated to learning or in relation to the support given to the learning process, and the learner is granted a certificate indicating the knowledge he/she has gained. From the learner's point of view, formal (official) education is intentional.
Non-formal education (unofficial) is systematic and based on set learning objectives, the time allocated to learning or in relation to the support given to the learning process. From the perspective of the learner is granted a certificate indicating the knowledge he/she has gained. In Finland, non-formal education is typically offered by various independent educational organisations and training offered at workplaces.
Informal education (everyday learning) refers to learning that takes place during activities at work, in the family or during leisure time. Informal education is not systematic or based on set learning objectives, the time allocated to learning or in relation to the support given to the learning process, not is the learner granted a certificate indicating the knowledge he/she has gained. Informal learning may be intentional, but usually it is unintentional and coincidental.
Students have the right to apply for the approval (recognition) of prior learning, if the acquired knowledge is equivalent to the learning objectives of the degree programme. During the recognition process, students are required to assess their knowledge in relation to the objectives of the course in question, determine what knowledge they will use for recognition (self-assessment), apply for recognition and provide the necessary demonstration of skills. The general principles for recognising prior learning are in Seinäjoki UAS's RPL Guidelines. The procedures for recognising prior educational programmes and courses are described in association with each degree programme.
Recognition refers to the approval of prior studies, practical training, work experience and other expertise as part of the degree or course, either compulsory pr elective, to be completed. Recognition may involve replacing certain studies or including the prior learning in the degree.
Replacement is form of recognition in which compulsory or elective studies are replaced with equivalent studies completed elsewhere.
Inclusion is a form of recognition in which studies completed elsewhere are included in the degree as optional or elective studies.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is closely related to the personalisation of education. The Personal Study Plan, which students compile at the beginning of their studies, functions as a tool for personalisation. The curriculum for the degree programme, the objectives therein, and students' own areas of interest form the basis of the plan. The supervisors in the degree programmes provide guidance for compiling the plan and advise students on issues pertaining to the RPL process. The heads of degree programme or other authorized person are responsible for approving the Personal Study Plans. The plans are updated during personal development and counselling discussions.