Corporate Legal

Policies and Corporate Legal

A14 – Recognition of Prior Learning

Originator: VP, Academic
Approver: Senior Academic Committee
Effective: May 24, 2023
Replaces: April 13, 2018

See the A14 – Recognition of Prior Learning Procedures ›

1.0 Preamble


RRC Polytech (RRC Polytech or “the College”), provides opportunities for students to receive Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to support equity, access and reconciliation. RPL enhances student mobility within RRC Polytech programs and between RRC Polytech and other Recognized Post-Secondary Institutions.


RPL is a process that formally recognizes learning (acquired through education, work and life experience) for academic credit. It involves the identification, documentation, assessment, and recognition of Formal, Informal, and Non-Formal learning acquired through education, work and life experience.

2.0 Purpose


This Policy and its associated Procedures set out a transparent mechanism by which students can apply to gain credit at RRC Polytech from prior learning in accordance with appropriate factors as determined by the RRC Polytech from time to time.

3.0 Application and Scope


This Policy applies to all RRC Polytech students and programs.

4.0 Definitions


“Chair” refers to the Chair or Equivalent (or their designate) of a RRC Polytech program.


“Dean” refers to the Dean or Equivalent (or their designate) of a RRC Polytech school.


“Equivalent”, means equal course learning outcomes or positions that include all critical or essential components.


“Formal learning” is learning usually organized by professional educators and leads to a qualification or academic credential. It traditionally takes place in educational institutions such as colleges and universities. Recognition of formal learning typically leads to a transfer of credit.


“Informal learning” is learning that takes place through work and life experiences. Informal learning activities are not structured or officially evaluated.


“Non-formal learning” is learning usually offered by a sector, professional group or a company to deal with specific training needs. Formal assessment may or may not be included.


“Recognized Post-secondary Institution” refers to a post-secondary institution that is authorized, registered and/or licensed by a government ministry/department responsible for education and/or quality-assurance/accrediting agencies in the jurisdiction in which the institution is located.


“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)” refers to a set of processes that allow individuals to document, be assessed and gain recognition for their prior learning. The focus is on the learning rather than where or how the learning occurred. Knowledge, skills and abilities gained from life experiences may be formal, informal or non-formal.


“Student” refers to an individual:

  1. who is a current student; or
  2. who has previously been a student within the last 12 months.

5.0 Policy


Recognized prior learning will be applied towards graduation requirements of RRC Polytech programs.


RRC Polytech will evaluate and grant credit to registered students for qualifying previous formal, informal and non-formal learning that is equivalent to RRC Polytech courses or programs.


RRC Polytech’s assessment of prior learning processes will be valid, reliable, equitable, efficient and effective.


To ensure fairness and reliability, RRC Polytech will follow the nine guiding principles for Quality RPL Practice in Canada as set forth by the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) and other emerging best practices.


Credit will be awarded, in accordance with RRC Polytech’s assessment criteria, for demonstrated prior learning that reflects:

  • current and relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities;
  • standards and criteria equivalent to the level required by the program in which the credit is sought;
  • both the theoretical and practical components that are consistent with the learning outcome requirements of courses/programs; and
  • learning equivalent to course/program learning outcomes.


Upon admission/enrolment in a RRC Polytech program/course, a student may be awarded up to 75% of the credits in a program for their prior learning. If warranted, additional credits may be granted by the Dean in consultation with the Chair and the Manager Academic Quality and RPL.


Subject matter experts will assess and determine credit awards for prior learning.


When an accreditation agreement is in effect between RRC Polytech and regulatory authority or another Post Secondary Institution, RRC Polytech will follow the processes and procedures established in that accreditation agreement.


Where RRC Polytech determines that it is appropriate to award credit for prior learning, RRC Polytech will record grades on the student’s transcript as follows:

  1. RPL conducted by assessing a student’s work based on a rubric shall be awarded a grade. Where the student successfully demonstrates that they meet the RPL requirements, the grade awarded will be recorded on the student transcript.
  2. RPL conducted without the use of a rubric shall not be awarded a grade. Where the student successfully demonstrates that they meet the RPL requirements, learning will be recognized by recording the designation CR (credit) on the student’s transcript.
  3. Where the student is unsuccessful in meeting RPL requirements, this will be recorded as NC (no credit).


Where a student does not successfully complete a RRC Polytech course, that student is not eligible to apply for credit for that course through RPL until they have gained sufficient evidence of new learning and have received approval from the Chair to apply for RPL.


A student who participates in an assessment and is denied credit for prior learning has the right to Appeal the decision in accordance with the Student Appeal Policy S3.


Fees will be charged for RPL in accordance with the Procedures.


To ensure consistency and efficacy of the RPL system, training and ongoing professional development will be provided to all staff involved in the development and implementation of RPL processes and assessments.

6.0 Responsibilities


The VP Academic has the responsibility to approve Procedures under this Policy.


RRC Polytech’s RPL Services and system are coordinated by the Manager Academic Quality and RPL. Each of the RRC Polytech staff involved in RPL have a responsibility to collect data to generate statistics on RPL inquires processes and assessments.


The Manager Academic Quality and RPL is responsible for:

  1. Developing and implementing RRC Polytech’s RPL Strategic Plan which includes RPL training and professional development;
  2. Coordinating, promoting, and monitoring RPL activities and procedures;
  3. Chairing the RRC Polytech’s RPL Committee;
  4. Annually compiling and reporting RPL data and statistics; and
  5. Developing the Assessment of External Courses from Non-Post-Secondary Institutions Manual (the “Manual”) and its associated procedures.


The Director of Enrolment Services and Registrar is responsible for:

  1. Implementing, coordinating and monitoring RRC Polytech’s transfer credit activities and procedures; and
  2. Maintaining a master list of “External Courses from Non-Post-Secondary Institutions Approved for College Credit” in RRC Polytech’s Transfer Credit database, which includes approved courses for programs in all Schools, including the School of Continuing Education.


Educational Developer – RPL is responsible for:

  1. Liaising with RRC Polytech staff to ensure consistent application and implementation of RPL processes across RRC Polytech courses/programs;
  2. Developing and facilitating RPL training and professional development; and
  3. Guiding the development of resource materials and evaluation tools.


The International Credential and Transfer Credit Officer and the RPL Advisor are each responsible for:

  1. Working with RPL Services and RRC Polytech programs to provide students and prospective students with RPL information and advice; and
  2. Guiding students through RPL processes and practices.


The RPL Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Manager Academic Quality and RPL regarding recognition of prior learning processes, resources and issues.

The RPL Committee is responsible for:

  • Regularly monitoring, reviewing, evaluating and proposing revisions to this Policy and associated Procedures to reflect changing needs and improvements in the assessment process and changes in the RRC Polytech’s mission and goals; and
  • Ensuring RPL updates, changes and best practices are communicated to programs and departments.


Deans of RRC Polytech schools are responsible for:

  1. Granting additional credits (exceeding 75% of course credits) in consultation with the Chair and the Manager Academic Quality and RPL;
  2. Ensuring Chairs of RRC Polytech programs are knowledgeable of RPL Policies and associated Procedures; and
  3. Reviewing and granting approval for credit from external non-post-secondary organizations upon recommendation from the Chair.


Chairs of RRC Polytech programs, or their designate, are responsible for:

  1. Identifying and implementing RPL processes in accordance with the associated Procedures;
  2. Assigning responsibility for RPL development and assessment to instructors with subject area expertise;
  3. Noting courses with RPL processes available on the RRC Polytech website; and
  4. Approving credit awards for prior learning in RRC Polytech programs.


Instructors are responsible for:

  1. Participating in RPL training and professional development to support the development and implementation of quality RPL practices;
  2. Identifying opportunities for RPL when creating their course outlines and reporting such opportunities to their program Chair; and
  3. Creating RPL processes and resources and conducting RPL assessments as identified by their Chair.


Students are responsible for:

  1. Completing and submitting relevant RPL Forms, paying any RPL fees, participating in the RPL process and continuing to attend classes until notified of a successful RPL result.

7.0 Review Schedule


This Policy will be reviewed and updated as required within five years of its approval date.

8.0 Related Documents

A1 – Application and Admission to College Programs
A5 – Course Outline
A17 – Academic Integrity
A20 – Requirements for Graduation
A22 – Academic Standards
S1 – Students Code of Rights and Responsibilities
S3 – Student Appeals

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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