EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Accrediting Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

Phase: Anticipation
  • Recognition of informal and non-formal training
Zuletzt geändert: 17 July, 2020
Ursprünglicher Name:

Varasemate Õpingute ja Töökogemuse Arvestamine (VÕTA)

Englischer Name:

Accrediting Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)


The APEL system can be used by individuals who wish to resume formal education studies (higher and vocational level education) that had been previously interrupted. It enables students to acquire a vocational certificate. 

Main characteristics

The development of the APEL system started in 2005 and was mostly operational by 2009. The APEL system enables the accreditation of a person's knowledge and skills-set, regardless of whether these have been acquired at a workplace, in training courses or in educational institutions. APEL takes into account a range of factors: previous studies, participation in professional training or courses, self-learning, and skills and knowledge acquired during a professional career. The APEL system can be used for meeting the admission criteria, transferring study credits from previous studies or transferring previous work experience into study credits for completing the study curriculum. It cannot be used for final examinations and defending graduation papers. Accreditation requires the following documentation: a written application; documents that prove acquired knowledge and experience, such as  a training certificate, or job description; and Europass documentation. It can also involve an interview and observation of skills (for example, involving a practical or technical demonstration).


  • National funds
  • European funds
  • European Funds (ESF)

Involved actors

National government
Developed in the framework of a European Structural Fund (ESF) project; implementation takes place in educational institutions, or by organisations providing professional certificates.


No recent research available.


No research available. However, in principle, APEL supports lifelong learning and mobility between education system and labour market. It improves an individual's competitiveness in the labour market and makes qualifications more visible to employers.


No research available. However, in principle, the biggest problem relates to the accreditation of work experience; as it is difficult to asses whether and to what extent the applicant has acquired the skills through their work experience as the curriculum has foreseen. It is easier in case of curriculums where technical skills can be demonstrated.


No information available.
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