General principles for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), currently named Recognition of Learning (RL) at SeAMK

Learning and expertise can be acquired in many types of situations, through formal education, everyday experiences, or work. The important thing is knowledge, the outcome of the learning process, not how and where this knowledge was acquired.

Formal learning (formal education) usually takes place at educational institutions, and learning is systematic as regards the learning objectives set, the time allocated to learning or the support given to the learning process, and the learner is granted a certificate indicating the knowledge they have gained. From the learner’s point of view, formal (official) education is intentional.

Non-formal learning (unofficial learning) is systematic as regards the learning objectives set, the time allocated to learning or the support given to the learning process. From the perspective of the learner, it is intentional, and the learner is usually granted a certificate indicating the knowledge they have gained. In Finland, non-formal education is typically provided by various independent educational organisations or is implemented as on-the-job training at workplaces.

Informal learning (everyday learning) refers to learning that takes place during everyday activities at work, in the family, or during leisure time. Informal education is not systematic as for learning objectives, the time allocated to learning or the support given to learning process, and the learner is not granted any certificate indicating the knowledge they have gained. Informal learning may be intentional, but usually it is unintentional or coincidental.

The student has the right to apply for approval (recognition) of prior learning if the acquired knowledge is equivalent to the learning objectives of the degree programme. The general principles for recognising prior learning are presented in the Recognition of Learning Guidelines of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. The procedures for recognition of prior educational programmes and courses are described together with each degree programme.

Recognition of Learning (RL) is closely related to the personalisation of education. The Personal Curriculum, which the student makes at the beginning of their studies, works as a tool for personalisation. It is based on the curriculum for the degree programme, its learning goals, and the student’s own areas of interest. The supervising staff of the degree programmes provides guidance for compiling the plan and advise students on issues pertaining to the RL process. The Personal Curriculum is approved by the Head of Degree Programme or another authorized person.
The Personal Curriculum is updated at personal development and counselling discussions.