Recognition of Prior Learning  (RPL)

Disclaimer: The information below is for information purposes only and in no way represents a legal obligation. While the DIT is committed to ensuring accuracy of  its public information  it is inevitable that information about RPL will be updated from time to time.

What is RPL?

RPL (recognition of prior learning) is a process which acknowledges, and gives value to, learning achieved prior to registering for a DIT programme or prior to seeking a DIT award.

Prior learning may be a result of successful participation in a formal learning programme for which you were awarded certification. If you use your prior certificated learning towards a DIT award, the process is called: Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL).

Prior learning may also be an outcome of non-formal or informal learning achieved through work, voluntary activities or private study, for which you may not have a certificate. The process of using this type of learning for higher education purposes is called: Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

It is not uncommon for both APCL and APEL to be considered together in an RPL process.

What RPL is used for in the DIT

RPL can be used for a number of purposes in the DIT including the following:

  1. for entry to programme at the initial stage where the applicant may not meet the standard entry requirements
  2. for advanced entry to a programme at a stage beyond the first stage
  3. for transfer from one programme to another
  4. for exemption from some programme elements or from programme modules
  5. for non-standard entry to post-graduate programmes where the applicant may not have the standard honours primary degree
  6. for application towards a full award such as a doctorate.

Words of caution: Not all DIT programmes offer RPL for entry, for transfer, for module exemptions or for full award. Where RPL is available there may be specific conditions, limitations and application procedures.

The RPL Process

There are different processes for RPL depending on the purpose for which it is used. However, all RPL processes require the applicant to provide evidence of appropriate past learning, whether that is certificated or experiential learning. In some cases it may be sufficient for the applicant to provide copies of appropriate certificates. In other cases there may be a self-assessment exercise, preparation of a file or ‘portfolio’ of appropriate evidence of learning,  an interview, and perhaps a demonstration or assessment task.

Where to go for information about RPL in the DIT

It is likely that applications for RPL will be from adult learners,  mature students or holders of third level awards. It is likely that applicants already know the particular programme or set of programmes that they wish to apply for.  Therefore it is probably wise to find out if those particular programmes permit RPL. Usually this information is available under the information section related to entry requirements. It is generally good advice to enquire about the precise availability of RPL with the Department or School offering the programme, or programmes, of your choice. Contact email addresses and phone numbers will be available on the website and usually in the programme prospectus.

If you cannot locate the programme personnel  for a response to your query, please contact the RPL Policy Officer:

Dr Anne Murphy   
anne.murphy@dit.ie  
01 402 7507

Information current for November 2010

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