Lost in Validation: The French vs. the German Case
Broad general presentation of the differences between the French and German systems
The idea that individuals all learn everywhere and all the time is not new and is largely accepted on a wide scale, by researchers, policy makers, practitioners, employers, workers organisations, and the broad public (e.g. families, applicants). Learning contexts other than formal have received a lot of attention in the scientific literature and the policy field (Burger et al., 2015; Duvekot et al., 2010; Pielorz and Seidel, 2011; Rohs, 2015; Werquin, 2010); and almost all countries around the world are striving to tap into these non-formally and informally acquired competences.
This presentation aims at showing that France and Germany both have a system for validating and recognising non-formal and informal learning outcomes. They are at a different state of development and have opted for different approaches but both countries have one; from a rather unified, quite ancient, system in France to a rather fragmented set of sub-systems or practices (some quite ancient too) in Germany. It offers some possible explanations for the differences, from the historical background to the culture and the role and responsibilities of the different actors and stakeholders.
This presentation builds on the presentation entitled “Lost in Validation: The French vs. the German Case (Very Different Approaches)” and therefore starts from the presentation of the existing systems in France and Germany for validation and recognising non-formal and informal learning outcomes. It goes into proposing definitions for the key concepts (e.g. assessment, validation, recognition), remind the participants of the multiplicity of approaches and names (e.g. AP(E)L, RPL, VAE, RNFILO, PLAR1), and therefore states that validation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes is more philosophy than a fixed once and for all carved-in-stone method. It therefore provides possible explanations for the differences between the French and German approaches.
There is no such a thing as a unique approach to validation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes. There are several, and they need to be spelled out to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, especially regarding their outcomes, their legal basis and the corresponding practical arrangements. For example, some approaches lead to the delivery of a full qualification but this does not have to be necessarily be the case: there are approaches that could perfectly be termed validation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes that do not lead to the awarding of a qualification. For example again, some assessment are based on the elaboration of a portfolio of competences but this does not have to be the case.
This presentation tries to disentangle some of the confusion by analysing two European systems, one quite ancient (the French system) and one more recent (the German one). This will be an opportunity to:
- Define key terms;
- Show that the issues are the same but solution are different
- Show that societal recognition is the grail, and also the real issue;
- Show that each country harbours, or harboured, several subsystems, with different origin, history and focus;
- Spell out pros and cons of each approach;
- Assess how bridges can be built among stakeholders;
- Assess the value of different procedures and instruments for different target groups; and
- Show how laws and regulations frame the landscape and the scope of policies and programmes.
About Mona PielorzCountry
The German Institute of Adult Education
Mona Pielorz, is currently working as research associate for the German Institute of Adult Education (Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung e.v.). She studied adult education with a minor in psychology and economics and its didactics. Before visiting university she certificated as a teacher in gymnastics for sports in rehabilitation and preventive sports. During her university education she worked for an English language school in Torquay, England and also partly in her occupation. After University she started working for a Management Consultancy and in 2007 for the German Institute of Adult Education. Since then she is working on the development of ProfilPASS portfolio and its supportive structures, including the development of trainings for ProfilPASS-counsellors and their re-certification procedures as well as the overarching theme of recognition of non-formal and informal learning on a national and international level.