The Booklet ®
CEDEFOP Glossary

Validation of non-formal and informal learning is an opportunity as a strategic element of innovation and optimization of learning systems for the enhancement of people and the development of employability.

Skill Glossary

The definitions of the terms presented below are taken from the book “Terminology of European education and training policy. A selection of 100 keywords“. It is a ‘glossary’ compiled in collaboration with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and Eurydice (the education information network in Europe), which reports the definition of the 100 terms, considered of primary importance to understand the education and training policies, currently practiced in Europe by researchers and professionals and, more generally, by all the people involved in this sector of activity.
The Cedefop glossary is in 14 languages.

Lirax focus is to close a long term circle. We select a minimum set of useful items promoting the adoption of a shared language and to represent policies, strategies, and practices in the specific area of certification of personal. The areas of work are learning and skills in a non-formal and informal context.

Assessment of learning outcomes
The process of ascertaining a person’s knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences based on pre-established criteria. It is generally followed by validation and certification.

Certificate / diploma / title
An official document issued by a certification body that reports the results achieved by an individual upon the outcome of an assessment and validation against a pre-established standard.

Certification of learning outcomes
Issue of a certificate, diploma or qualification that formally certifies that a qualified body has ascertained and validated a set of learning outcomes (knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences) achieved by an individual for a pre-established standard.
Note: Certification can validate learning outcomes achieved in formal, non-formal, or informal contexts.

The ability to apply learning outcomes appropriately in a given context (education, work, personal, or professional development).
Note: competence is not limited to cognitive elements (which involve the use of theories, concepts, or tacit knowledge) but also includes functional aspects (technical skills), interpersonal qualities (for example, social or organizational abilities), and ethical values.

Formal learning
Learning provided in an organized and structured context (for example, in an educational or training institution or at work), specially designed as such (in terms of learning objectives and learning times or resources). Formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view. It usually leads to validation and certification.

Informal learning
Learning resulting from daily life activities related to work, family, or leisure. It is not structured in terms of learning objectives, learning times, or resources. In most cases, informal learning is not intentional from the learner’s point of view.
– the results of informal learning generally do not result in a certification, but can be validated and certified in the context of the recognition of previous learning programs;
– informal learning is also called “experiential” or “accidental” or casual learning.

Learning outcomes
Set of knowledge, skills, and/or competences that an individual has acquired and/or can demonstrate at the end of a formal, non-formal, or informal learning process.

Non-formal learning
Learning provided as part of planned activities not explicitly conceived as learning (in terms of objectives, times, or learning support).
Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view.
– the results of non-formal learning can be validated and lead to certification;
– sometimes non-formal education is called “semi-structured learning.”

The term qualification can indicate:
– a formal qualification, i.e., the precise result (certificate, diploma or skill) of an assessment and validation process that is issued when a competent authority determines that a person has achieved learning outcomes against predefined standards and/or possesses the skills needed to carry out an activity in a specific professional sector. The qualification officially recognizes the validity of learning outcomes in the labor market or in the sphere of education/training. A diploma can constitute by law a mandatory requirement to be able to exercise a particular profession;
– professional requirements, i.e., the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary or expected to perform specific tasks specific to a specific professional position.

Recognition of learning outcomes
(a) Formal recognition: the process that gives official value to skills and competences through:
– recognition of qualifications (certificates, diplomas or titles); or
– recognition of equivalence, issue of credits, validation of acquired skills, and/or competences.
(b) Social recognition: the acceptance of the value of expertise and/or capabilities by economic and social actors.

Set of elements whose content is defined by the interested parties.
Different types of standards can be distinguished:
– the competence standard describes the knowledge, skills and/or competencies necessary for a given profession;
– the training standard defines the learning objectives, the content of the programs, the access requirements and the required resources to achieve the objectives training;
– the employment standard describes the activities and tasks relating to a particular profession and its practice;
– the assessment standard defines the learning results that must be assessed and the methodology used;
– the validation standard defines the level of the effect that must be achieved by the person under evaluation and the criteria used;
– the certification standard describes the rules for obtaining a certificate or diploma and the related rights acquired.
Depending on the system, standards can be defined separately or fall within a single document.

Transferability of learning outcomes
The possibility that knowledge, skills, and abilities are used in a new professional or training context and/or are validated and certified.

Transparency of qualifications
Degree of visibility and readability of criteria, their contents, and their value on the labor market (sectoral, regional, national or international) and in education and training systems.

Validation of learning outcomes
Confirmation by a competent body that the learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and/or competences) acquired by a person in a formal, non-formal or informal context have been ascertained based on pre-established criteria and comply with the requirements of a validation standard. Validation is generally followed by certification.

The current glossary, in its full version, can be downloaded here.

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