Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the generic term for learning assessment mechanisms such as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Advanced Academic Standing, which are used within Higher Education to describe the awarding of credit / exemptions to learners on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred prior to admission.

RPL involves awarding the learner recognition in the form of admission to a programme, credits, exemptions or an award for the Prior Learning.

The Prior learning can be Certified or Experiential (non-certified).

1. Recognition for Prior Certified Learning (RPCL)

Prior Certified Learning is where an applicant has already been awarded a qualification for a formal programme taken at an institution or training organisation. This prior learning can be recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications and may entitle the applicant to:

  • Admission to a programme or course of study.
  • The award of advanced academic standing.
  • The award of exemptions from some parts of a programme.

Where prior certificated learning is the basis for RPL, the applicant is required to provide the relevant syllabus and a transcript of results. The prior certified learning must be:

  • Similar in nature to the module(s) the learner is seeking exemptions in.
  • Achieved in a relatively recent time frame.
  • At the same or higher level in the National Framework of qualifications to the module(s) the learner is seeking the exemption in.

2. Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)

This involves the awarding of credit for learning from experience. In this case, the candidate must demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been achieved by producing a Portfolio of Evidence to support the claim for access, exemption or credit (in some instances the assessor may decide to use an alternative method of assessment, e.g. project or examination). As a general principle, credit is given for learning, not for experience per se. The portfolio of evidence must be written in such a way that the matching of the knowledge, skills and competencies of the module learning outcomes to the prior learning is clearly demonstrated.

As part of the assessment the learner may be interviewed by an appointed assessor.

Learners can receive support with developing their portfolio from the RPL Facilitator.

Fiona Kelly
Schools Engagement and RPL Officer,
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Port Road
Co Donegal  
(t) 074 918 6705
(e) fiona.kelly@lyit.ie

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Updated: Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:23:54 GMT


Accumulation of Credits and Certification of Subjects (ACCS)

What is ACCS?
ACCS (pronounced “access”) is an acronym for Accumulation of Credits and Certification of Subjects. The ACCS scheme allows students to study a portion of a full-time programme in a part-time mode. Students can gain credits for each module successfully completed and accumulate those credits, over time, towards an nationally recognized award such as a single Subject Certificate, a Higher Certificate or even a Degree. Typically, at LYIT, successful completion of a single module requires the accumulation of 5 credits. 60 credits are required to complete a full stage (equal to 1 year full-time) 120 credits are required for a Higher Certificate, 180 credits are required for a Bachelor Degree, or 240 for an Honours Degree.
Who does ACCS suit?
ACCS will suit anyone who wishes to study part-time and by day, e.g.
  • Workers who want to up-skill in just one or, perhaps, a few of the modules from a full-time programme, but who do not wish/need to take the entire programme.
  • Successful APL Applicants who have gained recognition for prior learning and who now wish to study for the remaining credits to achieve an award.
  • Persons who cannot commit to full-time study but are prepared to undertake part, or all, of a course, over an extended period, on a part-time basis.
ACCS is not available to full-time students.
Does LYIT have many ACS students?
Yes. Currently, there are ACCS students studying on a part-time basis within the Institute in areas such as computing, information technology, business studies, languages, humanities, healthcare, nursing studies, hotel and catering, science and engineering. ACCS study can open up a whole new world for participants. The backgrounds and motivations of our part-time students are as varied as the programmes we offer. Some of our ACCS students have come to us to update their skills and knowledge in one specific and limited area related to their work, e.g. CAD or Renal Nursing. Others are aiming to achieve a Degree, but are doing it over an extended period of time. Still others are studying purely for recreational purposes, for instance to keep active in retirement or to keep informed and up to date regarding new developments & technologies.
Do ACCS students get some form of Certificate?
Yes. Each time a student successfully completes a module s/he receives a SUBJECT CERTIFICATE. If, over time, they go on to accumulate all the credits/modules required for a particular award, they will receive that award.
Are ACCS awards recognised nationally?
Yes. The ACCS scheme was established in October 1989. All approved programmes can be offered via the ACCS scheme.
How is ACCS Timetabled?
In general, ACCS student attend classes during the day and alongside the full-time students.
We are anxious to accommodate ACCS students as far as possible in the timetabling arrangements.
In particular, we try to accommodate groups who are all taking the same subjects/modules. We would especially endeavour to accommodate groups coming to us for up-skilling from a single employer or employment sector and to organise the timetabling to suit their working requirements. Any such requests should be directed to the relevant Head of School and/or Industrial Liaison Officer who will try to work out the details in advance of application/registration.
Ultimately the timetable will be dictated by the most appropriate use of resources.
It is unlikely to be possible to adjust a timetable or schedule a class to suit just one individual part-time student.
What does it cost?
Application Fee. There is no application fee for ACCS students
Tuition and Registration The fees for full-time students are set annually by the Department of Education, usually in August. The scale of fee charged depends on the level and type of programme undertaken. ACCS students are charged on a pro-rata basis, with costs based on the total number of credits being taken.
A full year consists of 60 credits, therefore ACCS students pay one sixtieth of the full-time fee for each credit taken. If the ACCS modules chosen are worth 5 credits, they will pay 5 sixtieths of the full-time fee. If they are worth 10 credits, they will pay 10 sixtieths, and so on
The minimum Registration Fee for ACCS students is €100. Subject to this minimum, the Registration fee is also calculated on a per credit basis, with one sixtieth of the full-time registration fee being charged per credit taken
The Registry deals with all matters related to fee collection. All students are required to be in good standing with the Institute in relation to fees. Students who fail to pay fees due may not be entered for exams or may have their results withheld.
How to Apply for ACCS
  1. First, consult our web site or our prospectus and consider what programmes/modules you would like to study.
  2. Contact the relevant Head of Department and make an appointment to discuss your plans informally.
  3. Submit a formal application to the Registry at LYIT. Two forms are required:
    • the standard Direct Entry Application Form and
    • a more specific form in which the applicant indicates the particular selection of modules/subjects they wish to undertake. As all applicants may wish to enter different stages, this form must be tailored for applicant.
      Contact Rory McMorrow at (074 ) 9186125 or e-mail rory.mcmorrow@lyit.ie for the appropriate forms.
  4. Both of the above forms should be completed, accompanied by any supporting documentation, e.g. Employers References, Examination Results or Qualifications that are relevant to the programme applied for, etc. and returned to the Registry at LYIT by April 1st.
If neither full-time nor ACCS study modes suit your needs, you may be interested in considering our , which take place in the evenings.
Contact Peter Dobson, tel. (074) 918 6063, or e-mail peter.dobson@lyit.ie, for further information on evening programmes.
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