OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

The recognition of prior learning

Validating general competences

The recognition of prior learning enhances upskilling and reskilling pathways by shortening the duration of training and offering more personalised learning pathways to adults. While the majority of recognition systems focus on professional and technical competences for the purpose of entering and progressing in the labour market, the recognition of adults’ general competences – i.e. cross-field competences that all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development – is less common, despite its clear importance for upskilling pathways, including its positive benefits for the individuals – for whom the validation of their past experiences often becomes a central source of motivation to engage in further learning – and for the society – for which recognition represents a stepping-stone to the spread of upskilling strategies. Thanks to new evidence gathered through desk research and interviews with numerous stakeholders throughout Europe, this paper sheds new light on the characteristics of recognition systems focusing on adults’ general competences.


Keywords: Adult learning, Training, Validation, Education, Recognition of prior learning, Competences, Skills
JEL: M53: Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics / Personnel Economics / Personnel Economics: Training; I24: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Inequality; J24: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
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