Validation of Prior learning is a process to help people get aware of, value and get formal recognition of what they have learnt so far in their life.
The starting point is that the initial training for a career no longer suffices. It is important to acknowledge that competences (knowledge, skills, attitude, aspirations) are constantly developing. This means recognizing that someone always and everywhere - consciously and unconsciously – learns through:
• formal learning, which occurs in an organised and structured context such as in a school/training centre; it is explicitly designated in terms of objectives, time or learning support; it is is intentional from the learner’s point of view and it typically leads to qualification or certification.
• non-formal learning, which is embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning, but with an important learning element. It is intentional from the learner’s point of view and it typically does not lead to certification.
• informal learning, which results from daily work-related, family or leisure activities. It is not organised or explicitely structured as learning. It is in most cases unintentional from the learner’s perspective.
What statements is VPL based on?
- In the 21st century learning society, the role of the the learning system changes from an institutionalised learning system with uniform learning paths and little room for personal input, into a learning system characterized by flexible and more personal steered learning.
- Learning is outcome based. All that a lerner knows, understands and is able to do on completion of a learning process can be stated and it is defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competence.
- Learning is formal, informal and non-formal.
- Linking formal, informal and non-formal learning within any context is possible.
- Linking all the prior learning experiences to further development steps opens to a lifelong learning-strategy for everyone in their given context. In this perspective, VPL is not designed to highlight the lack of competences but precisely the opposite – to take stock of existing competences.
- There is always good practice out there!
What are the VPL purposes?
Personal: it improves opportunities for self empowerment and development towards lifelong learning perspectives. The validation of informally and non-formally acquired competences will boost people's desire to keep on learning and their awareness of how, what, when and why to learn.
Economical: it supports a more competence demand-led labour market and the employability, improving the match between the competence acquired by people
Educational: it aims at a learning system characterised by a flexible and more personal steered learning, in tight compliancy with the labour system. VPL acts in a Learning Triangle, made up of Individuals, Labour system and Learning system in mutual interaction and cooperation. That leads to an innovation of infrastructures and process.
Social: validating competences requires demostrating ability to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes for achieving observable results in a specific socio-economic-cultural context. Proofs and evidences are possible only when the others, whom one has interacted with, recognise and validate them as well. It positively impacts on social cohesion and empowerment.and the competence required by the organisations.
How does the VPL process work?
The VPL-process in general consists of five phases articulated in ten steps:
- commitment and awareness of the value of one’s competences
- recognition of personal competences
- valuation and/or validation of these competences
- (advice on the) development of one’s competences
- and finally structurally embedding this competence-based development process into a personal or organisation steered and owned policy.