Recognition of Prior Learning

MIHE's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

An applicant’s previous study, work experience and training may be counted as credit towards their study programme. However, the student will have to formally apply for this to be considered. The RPL application should detail the applicant’s prior qualifications and/or prior experience that meet the learning outcomes of specific modules on the course he/she is taking or wishes to apply for. This will then be considered by the RPL committee, which will communicate its decision to the applicant.

MIHE encourages students to seek recognition of their prior learning (RPL). Credit will be granted, against awards of the validating university being studied at MIHE, for previous learning acquired in a variety of different environments, including taught, distance learning and work based. The term RPL incorporates both certified and experiential learning. RPL should operate to ensure that students do not duplicate previous learning during their time at MIHE, whilst maintaining the need for students to demonstrate successful attainment of the learning outcomes appropriate to their award.

MIHE’s Recognition of Prior Learning Committee will follow the RPL policies of the validating university to make its decisions on RPL applications. MIHE is responsible for assessing applications on a fair and equitable basis. Assessment will be transparent based on objective criteria and should not discriminate against any other candidate on grounds of age, gender, health, marital status, ethnicity, disability, nationality, social class, religious belief and sexual orientation. Candidates will receive guidance on the preparation of these applications from their Course Leader. MIHE will not apply grades to modules credited under the RPL policy. No student claiming RPL will be enrolled with advanced standing until the RPL has been completed and communicated its formal decision.

RPL Terms and Concepts: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is based on the fundamental principle that learning, wherever it occurs, can count towards an academic qualification provided that it can be measured and authenticated and is at an appropriate level. Prior learning is any learning that takes place before a student registers for an award of the validating university to be studied at MIHE. Such learning may be certified or experiential.

Certified learning will have taken place in a recognised institution such as a college or university, will have been internally and externally assessed, and may have resulted in a particular qualification. Thus, certified learning results in an award that can be authenticated through the presentation of a certificate. Experiential learning comes from less structured contexts. For example, company training schemes may have taught courses but these may not have been assessed and certified. Learning may be experiential, not derived from a formal course, but a result of acquiring skills and concepts from work or other activities. Experiential learning can take a variety of forms and results in learning that has not been formally recognised through an award process. A student may make a request that prior learning – whether certified or experiential – may be allowed to count as part of that required for an award.

Measurement consists of two dimensions – the volume of relevant learning and the level at which the learning takes place.

Two systems of measuring level are used by academic institutions (specific and general). Specific, or module credit, is credit awarded for achieving learning outcomes that are relevant to a particular module. General credit is credit awarded for achieving learning outcomes that are not directly relevant to the named area of study, but relevant to the overall award. When a student applies for their prior learning to be taken into account, the institution has to decide how much of their general credit is relevant and can be used against the proposed course. A student might be granted a mix of general and specific credit, including credit for different levels of study.

If it is clear that an applicant has fulfilled some of the progression and assessment requirements of the course by means other than attendance on the entire course and will be able by completing the remaining requirements to fulfil the objectives of the course and attain the standard required for the award, MIHE may consider the applicant for admission “with advanced standing” to an appropriate point in the programme. Such decisions are taken by academic staff and are based on consideration of the evidence presented by the student and how it relates to the content of the chosen course and availability of places and funding. The admission of students with advanced standing following the accreditation of their prior learning or work experience shall apply to individual admissions only.

Programme transfers: Subject to meeting any programme-specific requirements, students may be allowed to transfer from a point on one programme of study, within or outside MIHE, to the same point on another within MIHE ,providing MIHE is satisfied that the two programmes are equivalent in terms of their curriculum and learning outcomes. Such transfers are not required to be accredited under the MIHE’s RPL policy. Programme transfers are subject to conditions which may include funding and place availability on the respective course.

Contact the admin office for further information or for an RPL application form.