European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database



Validation of non-formal and informal learning


A process of confirmation by an authorised body that an individual has acquired learning outcomes against a relevant standard. It consists of four distinct phases: (1) identification – through dialogue – of particular experiences made by an individual; (2) documentation – to make visible the individual experiences; (3) a formal assessment of these experiences; and (4) recognition leading to a certification, e.g. a partial or full qualification.


This term has been designed to replace ‘Accreditation of prior experiential learning’ (APEL), ‘Recognition of non-formal and informal learning’ (RNFIL) and ‘Validation of prior learning’ (VPL).
This process is often linked to specialised guidance activities. An intention is to enhance ‘the role of guidance in relation to accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) and to learning in the workplace including formal, non-formal and informal learning’ (Lifelong Guidance Policy Development: a European Resource Kit 2012).


EU proposed definition from DG EAC.

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ELGPN Glossary, accreditation, informal, learning outcomes, non-formal, qualification, validation