At the end of May 2023, students of the Master's program International Business Studies accompanied by Dr. Bernd Wollmann and Prof. (FH) PD Dr. Christoph Hauser visited the Portuguese island of Madeira to explore its nature, history and local businesses.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
The acquisition of knowledge in our time is diverse. The University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol (FH Kufstein Tirol) is committed to the philosophy of Lifelong Learning (LLL) and supports students in the degree programs by taking into account skills already acquired and by providing further education programs via the International Business School.
Which types of learning are considered?
- Formal learning
Formal learning is defined as organized, structured education in a formal, established context designed for learning (i.e., a school, university, etc.). Usually, this type of learning is documented in the form of (school) certificates or grade reports, university certificates, etc.
- Non-formal learning
Non-formal learning is defined as learning that takes place as part of a planned activity and corresponding environment, for example, in the form of corporate in-house professional development offered by companies or continued professional development training and workshops provided through non-university providers such as adult education centers like the WIFI Tirol, etc. As a rule, this type of learning is documented by the respective educational institution or facilitating corporate organization through training and professional development certificates.
- Informal learning
Informal learning is defined as learning in everyday life or a professional context, including learning that is not formally documented; the associated competencies are acquired through years of activity in a professional or other context at a place of employment or in leisure time.
How does Recognition of Prior Learning work at the FH Kufstein Tirol?
The application process for the recognition of prior learning is defined in the Examination and Study Regulations of the FH Kufstein Tirol (see the Statute of the FH Kufstein Tirol, Chapter 1.5), and the content is described and specified in the guidelines (Student portal fh.checkin / Menu general study infos). Students can have courses credited to them before the start of the respective semester, in which the courses are scheduled according to the curriculum plan.
Which submission deadlines apply for applications for Recognition of Prior Learning?
The following deadlines apply for Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning per semester to ensure that the submitted applications can be carefully assessed:
- Application for Recognition of Prior Learning for courses scheduled in the Winter semester: Starting the preceding Sommer semester until August 14 for the Winter semester of the upcoming academic year
- Application for Recognition of Prior Learning for courses scheduled in the Summer semester: Starting the preceding Winter semester until January 15 for the Summer semester of the same academic year
Note: Submission of the Application for Recognition of Prior Learning before the indicated submission dates results only in a check of formal aspects (i.e., completeness) and may result in a rejection if the formal requirements are not met. In this case, a new application meeting all requirements can be submitted within the specified submission dates.
The result of the subject-specific assessment of the Application for Recognition of Prior Learning is available at the latest at the beginning of the semester, as soon as the rejection/approval of an application can be recorded for each applicant after successful enrollment in the semester concerned.
What is required for the recognition of formal learning?
To request recognition of formal learning (based on school or other university studies), submit an Application for Recognition of Prior Learning with the corresponding evidence, i.e., certificates or grade reports; this generally suffices. The FH Kufstein Tirol partners with other institutions in the Recognition of (Prior) Learning for the Tyrolean and Vorarlberg Higher Education Area. For selected courses, predefined school branches from the secondary education sector trigger automatic approval upon submission of the application form. You can find more detailed information on this under the individual degree program on the website mentioned above.
What is required for the recognition of non-formal or informal learning?
To request recognition of non-formal or informal learning, an Application for Recognition of Prior Learning, including a detailed presentation of the competence acquisition per learning outcome, is required. The recognition process for non-formal or informal learning is more complex in terms of proof and requires a lot of evidence and documentation on the part of the applicant, which is why we are providing you with a guide (Student portal fh.checkin / Menu general study infos). In the required Application for Recognition of Prior Learning, you must provide precise documentation on how the acquisition of skills established for the course (usually stated as learning outcomes) can be proven. This means the existing competence must be documented and proven in writing for each learning outcome specified for the corresponding course.
How many ECTS can be recognized in total?
Completed examinations (from the educational sector, such as general secondary school or vocational secondary schools) can be recognized/credited with up to a maximum of 60 ECTS, and professional or non-professional qualifications can also be recognized/credited with up to a maximum of 60 ETCS. Overall, the recognized/credited ECTS from secondary schools, professional, or non-professional areas may not exceed a maximum of 90 ECTS credit points. There are no limits to the recognition of prior learning from the higher education sector (see University of Applied Sciences Act § 12).
As part of the course-related recognition of prior learning, recognition of a bachelor's thesis that has already been written can be requested, provided this can be justified in a relevant subject and provided the ECTS credit points are the same or differ only slightly.
No, a master's thesis from another subject that has already been assessed cannot be credited.
Evidence must be provided in the form of a portfolio and contain, for example, detailed job descriptions, work samples, project descriptions of completed projects, illustrative material, meaningful documented examples from previous work or learning practice that can be clearly matched to the learning outcomes required for each course. Documentation of prior learning that is not specific and itemized for the individual learning outcomes associated with the course can make the assessment of the competencies impossible and consequently lead to a rejection of the Application for Recognition of Prior Learning.
No, an employment reference is not suitable proof of informal learning. With regard to the proof requirements, see point 5.
No. The recognition/crediting of proven prior learning is course-based, and all learning outcomes required for the successful completion of the course must be proven to qualify for credit/recognition. If only parts of the required learning outcomes can be verified based on prior learning, the application must be rejected, and the course must be completed.
The responsible persons will promptly check the formal aspects of the application (i.e., the completeness of the documents). If the application is rejected based on formal requirements, a complete application can be resubmitted by the established deadline (by January 15/by August 14). The result of the subject-specific assessment of the Application of Recognition of Prior Learning is available at the latest at the start of the semester.
The decisive factor for successful recognition of prior learning is that the learning outcomes/the acquisition of skills from the course already completed at the other university correspond to the learning outcomes/the acquisition of skills from the course at the FH Kufstein Tirol. The number of ECTS is not decisive.
The learning outcomes for a course can be found in the respective study regulations. You can find these under the "Curriculum" link on the website of the respective degree program.
This possibility does not exist. If the Application for Recognition of Prior Learning is granted, the credit awarded will apply to the entire course, including the examination.
Yes. With the recognition of prior learning, it is assumed that you can demonstrate the skills proven. This means the learning outcomes of the course for which you have obtained credit are relevant for the (Bachelor's/Master's) final examination.
No. Many students (and their representatives) requested that interested parties be able to take part in courses as listeners. This request was met, and the programming code was adjusted accordingly; the solution applied does not allow for individual modifications.
Yes. If you would like to be enrolled in a Moodle course despite the recognition of prior learning, please request this by sending an informal email to Study Management (email@example.com). Please note that if you are admitted to the Moodle course, lecturers and students will perceive you as an active student. You will then be expected to participate actively in the interactive elements of the lessons in order not to jeopardize the progress and finalization of the project and group work for students dependent on a performance assessment.