International Winter School: Comparative Studies in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

    Comparative Group 7: Implementation of guidelines for the accreditation / recognition / validation of prior learning in transnational and national contexts

    informal, non-formal-and formal learning

    What are adults learning inside and outside the frameworks of educational provision? A simple answer (in EU member states) may be that that the outcomes of learning processes in all kinds of settings are knowledge, skills and competences. There are, however, no simple answers if the follow-up-questions are:

    1. How can the outcomes of adult learning outside the frameworks of educational provision be accredited / recognized / validated by countries and providers of education?
    2. What are transnational actors as the Council of Europe, the EU, the OECD, and the UNESCO doing in the field of accreditation / recognition / validation of prior adult learning in order to facilitate the formulation and the implementation of guidelines?
    3. What seems to be the barriers in all kinds of settings – when adults want individual learning outcomes accredited / recognized / validated?

    The point of departure for this Comparative Group will be the Lissabon Convention formulated by Council of Europe in 1997.

    Comparative research question

    How can adults earn credits for learning outcomes acquired outside the provision of education?

    Context of comparison

    The case study approach (as defined in a specific scientific publication about educational research) is the foundation for this Comparative Group. The contexts of comparison will be the guidelines formulated by specific countries and/or specific providers of education.

    Categories of comparison (selection for the transnational essay is based on participants research interests)

    The National Qualification Frameworks (the NQFs) in the countries in question will be the point of departure for the students writing a transnational essay. The levels 4, 5, 6 or 7 (in the NQFs in question) are supposed to be the settings for all case studies. The categories of comparison are knowledge, skills, and competences.


    Andersson, P. et al. (2016) (eds.), Recognition of prior learning research from around the globe. London: Routledge.

    Colardyn, D. & J. Bjørnåvold (2004), Validation of Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Learning: policies and practices in EU member states. In: European Journal of Education. Vol. 39. No. 1.

    Singh, M. (2012), UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the outcomes of Non-Formal and Informal Learning. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.


    Prof. Søren Ehlers, Aarhus Universitet, DENMARK

    Søren Ehlers earned his Dr. Paed. degree in History of Education (Royal Danish School of Education) His approach to studies of education policy is global. Dr. Ehlers took the lead in 2005 when a consortium of European universities (Institute of Education in London, University of Deusto in Bilbao and Danish University of Education) designed European Masters in Lifelong Learning: Policy and Management. Visiting Professor at University of Georgia, at Peking University and at Delhi University.


    Co-Moderation: Shalini Singh, International Institute of Adult & Lifelong Education, New Delhi, INDIA

    Shalini Singh is a Senior Research Fellow at International Institute ofAdult and lifelong Education, New Delhi, India and a Guest Researcher at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.


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