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Prior Learning and Transfer Credits

(This page is part of the official Academic Calendar)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the assessment processes that are used to evaluate and provide recognition for the knowledge, skills and attitudes that people have acquired in their lives which includes formal learning, non-formal learning and informal learning. Credit obtained through a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process, acknowledges learning that may have taken place in a venue other than a traditional post-secondary classroom.

RPL can take various forms, Advanced Placement (AP), Challenge Exam (A-F or WD), Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PL), or Transfer Credit (TR), and the associated outcomes can be used for different purposes relevant to the individual's educational program at RDP.

High school students who took courses designated as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Tech Prep can apply for a prior learning assessment

To qualify for a Red Deer Polytechnic program credential, students must complete at least 50 per cent of the credit requirements for the credential through enrolment in RDP courses unless a formal agreement for alternate pathways has been approved by the Vice President Academic.

PLAR applicants must complete a Recognition of Prior Learning Application Form, and must provide the Polytechnic Assessors with any and all transcripts, course outlines/descriptions, or other documentation necessary to support their PLAR application.

RDP uses a “Course Credit” model of granting PLAR credit. Therefore, any credit awards using this process will be based on the applicant meeting the requisite course outcomes and/or demonstrated competencies specific to current Polytechnic course curricula. RDP does not grant PLAR credit on a program level, nor will the Polytechnic grant unspecified PLAR credit.

It is the responsibility of the applicant or student to provide the assessors of Red Deer Polytechnic with any transcripts, course outlines, or descriptions, or any other documentation necessary to support the prior learning application.

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition Process


If a PLAR process is approved, assessment may take the form of:

  • A portfolio; written summary of learning gained from informal learning experiences
  • Letters of attestation from employers and/or associates that support claim of competency
  • Photos and/or videos that demonstrate skills/competence or products of learning
  • References from relevant professionals who support claims of skill mastery within the appropriate context
  • Annotated summary of group projects with clear delineation of individual skills mastered
  • Performance/assessment reports from current employers
  • Essays, projects, assignments or other course appropriate evaluation strategies
  • Standardized tests: Paper & pencil or computerized tests may be used to assess theoretical or applied knowledge relevant to the curricula being reviewed for credit
  • Skills assessments: Such an assessment will be a demonstration of skills within a prescribed environment, i.e. laboratory or practicum setting, for the express purpose of assessing an individual's ability to meet the learning outcomes of a RDP course or program, and obtain relevant credit
  • Review of Employer-Based Training: Review of private or public sector-sponsored training programs
  • Other strategies as determined by the Assessors, that enable a comparison of learning outcomes/competencies and specific course curricula.

If credit is granted via this process, the information will appear on the transcript as "PL", with the appropriate credit weight attached, but no grade is assigned.

Many universities will not recognize a grade of "PL" on an official transcript, students should check with the receiving institution before initiating a PLAR process.

Recognition of prior learning applications that are not approved may be appealed to the Registrar. The Registrar’s decision is final.


A Recognition of Prior Learning fee may be levied to support the assessment process. The RDP Assessor will determine if a fee is applicable and will notify the applicant after submission of the initial application. All RPL fees are non-transferable and non-refundable. Refer to Other Fees

Application Timelines & Deadlines

In order to receive recognition of prior learning by Red Deer Polytechnic, the individual requesting the prior learning assessment must have applied and/or been admitted to a credit program at Red Deer Polytechnic. Students do not have to be registered in a course to apply for RPL.

To apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), compete the Application Form and email it to rpl [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (rpl[at]rdpolytech[dot]ca).

Please submit RPL applications at least eight weeks prior to the commencement of courses. Applications received after April 15 may not be completed prior to the beginning of the Fall term. Students registering for programs and courses commencing in the Fall term must file completed Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) application forms before the Add/Drop date in the Fall term for courses in which they are registered, in order for credit to be applied to that term.

Students seeking RPL for courses commencing in the Winter Term, must file RPL applications before the Add/Drop date in the Winter term for courses in which they are registered, in order for credit to be applied to that term - before December is recommended. The same provisions are in effect for the Spring term.  

If students apply for a Prior Learning Assessment for a course in which they are currently registered, they will be expected to produce the relevant documentation, and/or complete the requisite assessment within the first two weeks of the term in which they are registered in the course.

RPL applications for transfer credit assessment require official transcripts (required for admission to RDC, as well). Other supporting documentation, academic course outlines or descriptions, may be attached to the RPL application.

For more information email: rpl [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (rpl[at]rdpolytech[dot]ca)


Not all RDP courses are eligible for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition, Transfer Credit, Challenge or Advanced Placement. Restricted courses are identified in the Course Descriptions.

Credit granted via RPL may affect the status of funded students, and eligibility for scholarships. Students who are eligible for scholarships and/or bursaries should check with the Student Funding & Awards office at RDP, to ascertain if an RPL credit award will affect their eligibility.

Recognition of Prior Learning Application

Recognition of Prior Learning Fees

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