European Observatory of validation of non-formal and informal learning
Project Leonardo da Vinci project (Action: Networks). 133980-LLP-2007-BE-LVW.
10 February 2015

Recognition and validation of non-formal learning is a key element of lifelong learning policy. It allows individuals to develop in a positive, developmental way their personal and professional routes through different sectors or institutions without dead ends. But it is necessary to remove obstacles created by compartmentalised approaches, by approaches not really taking into account experiential learning. Exchanges of best practices can be a way to convince individuals, institutions, actors, employers.

Aims of the project:

  • To develop a strong network for the transfer and development of innovation, and integrated European solutions for the identification, assessment and recognition of non-formal and informal learning
  • To contribute to increasing participation in lifelong learning
  • To reinforce cooperation between actors and sectors

Objectives of the project:

  • To create a permanent European Observatory on validation of non-formal and informal learning. The Observatory will be based on a European network of national experts (including actors from learning and training providers in all sectors and NGOs), who have a leading role in their countries and a global vision of existing practices.
  • To collect and analyse existing data and present them in a common format that will allow both comparison and articulation of practices developed in different contexts or sectors, and their evaluation using criteria defined on the basis of the “common principles”.
  • To identify regulations, organisation, pilot projects and experiments, standards and reference frameworks, tools and methods, purposes and approaches in the workplace, results registered (access, credits, exemptions, award of qualifications etc.) and statistics available for the development of practice. These will be drawn from private and public learning and training institutions, companies and professional bodies and NGOs.
  • To review national debates or discussions between the most influent actors (ministries, learning and training organisations, social partners, companies, NGOs) on validation issues. This is a topic that is a ‘hot topic’ at different levels in many countries and one which often generates sceptical reactions and opposition. It encapsulates many of the current debates: the relationship between education and work; the strong focus on the individual (since the assessment is essentially an individual process, each candidate having a unique history and experience); the repositioning of formal learning; the redistribution some way the “learning power”; and the necessity to think in terms of processes, continuity, progression in a lifelong learning perspective.
  • To situate the debates in a learning culture and in a European policy context especially the EQF.
  • To review research on the policy and practice of validation and create an annual annotated bibliography and literature review.
  • To promote an annual European validation prize.
  • To go to the Public Part of the Final Report, click here

To know more about this Project, please contact the eucen office.
The Observatory was enhanced and replaced by the next project OBSERVAL-Net. You can visit this project site from here. During 2017-2019 eucen has developed a new platform for Validation of non-formal and informal learning via its project VINCE. This new platform has reviewed some of the OBSERVAL-Net materials and has increased the repository, turning it into a library. Visit the VINCE platform for more details and full access to newer resources.