Prior learning is acquired in different ways and can be broken into the following three categories:
- Formal learning takes place through programmes or courses of study that are delivered in an organised, formal way by education providers and that attract awards or credits. Formal learning is sometimes referred to as certified or accredited learning.
- Non-formal learning takes place alongside or outside the mainstream systems of education and training. It may be assessed but does not normally lead to formal certification. Examples of non-formal learning are planned learning and training activities undertaken in the workplace, voluntary sector, or in community-based settings.
- Informal learning takes place through life and work experience. Typically, it does not lead to certification.