According to the Council Recommendation of December 2012, the term “validation” is “a process of confirmation by an authorised body that an individual has acquired learning outcomes measured against a relevant standard”. It is based on the assessment of individuals’ learning outcomes and may lead to a certificate or diploma. It is the centrepiece of lifelong learning and a priority for national and European Vocational Education and Training policies.
European Association for Education of Adults (EAEA) agrees that validation is a tool that ensures more flexible learning pathways, encourages learners and their self-confidence and creates a more comprehensive understanding of competences.
There are many mechanisms promoting lifelong learning and the methods of validation of non-formal and informal learning are some of the most powerful mechanisms that exist.
The effective use of innovative methods for validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) requires training assessors/counsellors to enable them to use appropriate assessment methods with different learners. Assessors have to consider several factors, for example, specific needs of the target groups in terms of their characteristics.
Addressing the needs of specific target groups such as migrants, the unemployed, individuals with disabilities, NEET or low qualified adults using the right validation methods is a way to help these learners discover more about themselves and to respect their specific characteristics, difficulties and expectations about the validation process and its results. It also helps fight social and professional exclusion and promote employability and mobility.
Module II will address all these issues, as well as describing alternative and standardised assessment methods, the results of which may be used formatively or summatively. It gives concrete examples using case studies collected by project partners in their own countries in order to support understanding of innovative validation approaches and methods and how they are put into practice.
Barriers and Enablers to the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning