Observal

OBSERVAL European Observatory of validation of non-formal and informal learning.

Leonardo da Vinci project (Action: Networks). 133980-LLP-2007-BE-LVW.   www.observal.org

What is Observatory?

„Approved! – Yes, you can!”

Explore & find out what diversity on validation practices on non-formal and informal learning throughout the European member states exists

The European Observatory on validation practices of non formal and informal learning in European countries is the key product of the OBSERVAL project which is funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme and coordinated through EUCEN (European University Continuing Education Network).

Together with partner experts from 24 countries of the European Union representing the different educational sectors (higher education, vocational education and training, adult education) the project has produced and collected different materials and documents which are now available and accessible via the Observatory.

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

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Case Study – 2009