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Learning is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competence. Prior learning is the knowledge, skills and competence that an individual learner has already attained. This may have been acquired in any of the following ways:

  • http://www.fess.ie/templates/ja_edenite/images/bullet.gif) 18px 7px no-repeat;">Formal learning: takes place through programmes of study or training that are delivered by education or training providers, for example in schools, colleges or adult education centres. This learning is usually accredited, i.e. it is recognised through formal certification, for example Leaving Certificate or ECDL.
  • http://www.fess.ie/templates/ja_edenite/images/bullet.gif) 18px 7px no-repeat;">Non-formal learning: takes place alongside the mainstream systems of education and training, for example in work-based training, in voluntary sector activities or in community-based learning. Where this learning is assessed and leads to formal certification, it is accredited. Where it is not assessed and does not lead to formal certification, it is non-accredited.
  • http://www.fess.ie/templates/ja_edenite/images/bullet.gif) 18px 7px no-repeat;">Informal learning: takes place through life experience and work experience. This learning is often unintentional and the Learner may not recognise at the time that it has contributed to his or her knowledge, skills and competence; for example the learning acquired through running a family business or through caring for an elderly relative. This informal learning does not lead to formal certification, so it is non-accredited.