Non-formal and Informal Learning

Implementation of the recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal Learning (NFIFL) – EU Level

The EU Council Recommendation

The importance to Europe of skilled and knowledgeable citizens extends beyond formal education to learning acquired in non-formal or informal ways. Citizens must be able to demonstrate what they have learned in order to use this learning in their career and for further education and training. To do so, they must have access to a system which identifies, documents, assesses and certifies (validates) all forms of learning. This is what the Council Recommendation of December 2012 has called upon Member States to put in place by 2018.

The EQF Advisory Group has a central role in ensuring the follow up to the Recommendation. Regular monitoring by the EQF AG of the implementation of the Recommendation will involve the following:

  • Until 2018 each Member State is invited to present to the EQF AG its one off report on the validation arrangements they have put in place further to the Recommendation;
  • EQF AG Members are invited, on a voluntary basis, to regularly share experiences on the validation arrangements put in place, or under development in their country at any time when validation is part of the EQF AG's agenda.

European inventory and guidelines on validation of NFIFL

In cooperation with the European Commission and Member States, Cedefop helps to develop validation systems by updating and hosting the European inventory on validation of NFIFL and disseminating and further developing European guidelines on validation.

The European Inventory

A regularly updated overview of validation practices across Europe, this inventory, compiled in cooperation with the European Commission, provides an overview of validation arrangements in European countries.

Recognising that society at large has a vested interest in using all available skills, national and regional authorities and sectoral bodies have introduced many arrangements for validation of non-formal and informal learning in the past ten years. Yet information about how such learning is identified, documented, assessed and certified is, in most countries, not easily accessible.

The European inventory aims to address this weakness by making information on current practices – including examples from selected sectors – available to everyone working in the field. The inventory covers all countries taking part in the EU 2020 cooperation process.

So far the inventory has been updated six times (2004, 20052008, 20102014 and 2016).

The European Guidelines

A second version of the European Guidelines has been published end of 2015. The guidelines identify main challenges facing policy-makers and practitioners – to a certain degree – pointing to possible ways to respond to those challenges. They are intended as a practical tool, providing expert advice to be applied on a purely voluntary basis.