Validating Learning for an Inclusive Society (INLearning)
Malta , 2009 to 2011
Compendium: Modernisation of Higher Education
There are quite a number of workers within the European labour market who possess no official qualifications from formal institutions. However, these individuals would have acquired knowledge, skills and competences as a result of informal and non-formal learning. But being competent and unqualified, these people run the risk of being excluded from the workforce due to lack of formal recognition and also limit themselves from progressing within the European Qualifications Framework, as part of a lifelong learning process.
Aims and targets
This project aims to promote social inclusion through developing a methodology framework for the validation of informal and non-formal learning, through a portfolio pen drive ‘Lifepass’, which will be applicable across different sectors and may be utilized across Europe.
Indeed, it is foreseen that Lifepass will be a tool that helps individuals document all their knowledge, skills and competences and this irrespective to where these have been acquired. Hence, the full range of qualifications and competences are made visible through validation, the purpose being both formative and summative. Lifespass is a source of evidence for validation to take place and can help in facilitating progression in higher education (through a credit transfer system) and training and thus leading to formal recognition (for example a certificate or diploma).
The target groups include:
Learners (skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, the unemployed, persons with a disability, disadvantaged groups, voluntary workers, adult learners) – who wish to have their knowledge, skills and competences validated
Employers who wish to know the competences of their workforce better and to identify any gaps in skills supply.
Trade Unions promoting workers’ rights and capabilities.
Accreditation Bodies ready to implant the EQF model into their awarding system of qualifications.
Awarding bodies willing to test the EQF format to existing and emerging qualifications.
Strategy and actions
This project is coordinated by the Malta Qualifications Council and is made up of international partners involved in the validation of informal and non-formal learning. The intended actions for this project were mainly to:
Identify existing occupational standards for specific jobs in particular sectors
Profile individuals in the specific jobs in the sectors considered, as to match skills and competences to the occupational standards identified.
Develop a methodological framework for the validation of informal and non-formal learning.
Pilot the applicabilityof the validation methodological framework through the use of an e portfolio.
Monitoring and evaluation
The piloting of the Lifepass e portfolio is to be monitored and evaluated by professionals in the specified sectors. Furthermore, the partner countries will appoint an external evaluator to assess the deliverables of the project. Internal evaluation of the project is also being carried out by the project partners after each project partners' meeting.
Funding/Cost effectivenessThis project has been funded with support from the European Commission (Lifelong Learning Programme). Hopefully, in the future, funding will be through either public funds or public private partnership.
Sustainability/TransferabilityOn a local basis, the e portfolio will be used in various initiatives. These include a youth programme for young people who have left formal education with no qualifications and it is foreseen that the tool will be used as a source of evidence for the validation of informal and non-formal learning.
It is foreseen that in introducing the e portfolio, inequalities are reduced and social inclusion is promoted among those who do not possess any formal qualifications within the National and European Qualifications Framework.The project has achieved the following:
Lifepass - a portfolio pen drive consisting of a template in which individuals can insert evidence and testimonials of their learning, using ICT tools.
Validation Manual - a manual accompanying the portfolio pendrive based on the experiences during the piloting phase of the Lifepass. The manual will provide a guide for all those who intend to use the Lifepass for the process of validation of informal and non-formal learning.
Research Study - on the validation of informal and non-formal learning in each country of the consortium. Furthermore, a research study in understanding the occupational standards of a number of jobs in seven different sectors has also been carried out.
Methodological Framework - methodology for the validation process with respect to the use of the Lifepass, which will spell out the major steps to be followed in this process.
The project has produced the success factors:
- Attractiveness - towards lifelong learning
- Awareness of the validation of informal and non-formal learning
- Structure-to validate invisible learning
Strengths and weaknesses
- Attractiveness towards lifelong learning
- Awareness for information on the validation of informal and non-formal learning
- Structure to validate invisible learning
- Lack of financial support from government and employers
- Lack of trust from established formal Higher Education or VET institutions.