Identification of Learning Outcome

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Created By N. Zimmermann

Knowledge skills and competencies gained through non-formal and informal education needs to be recognized in the society. Or in other words: The learning outcome needs to be made visible for the learning person and its environment. Although a lot of outcomes and developments in terms of a gain of competences are not easily to be certified in a formal way, facilitators might use tools that document processes and personal developments.

In particular civic engagement and volunteering are contributing to broad range of competencies like the study and survey Job Bridge is showing. The most relevant competencies in the opinion of volunteers are illustrated by the graphic below. However, the lack often recognition among learners and also among the society - for instance by fellow citizens, organizations, employers. In this sense, we as educators should spend some efforts in order to help learners to get their competencies recognized and also to show the social impact and value of Education for Democratic Citizenship and of civil engagement through our learners' recognition.

Most Relevant Competencies Addressed through Volunteering


Source: Job-Bridge, p. 20 [2]

Recognition, Identification, Validation


  • Awareness and appreciation of competencies
  • The basis is self-recognition, including "personal awareness and assessment of learning outcomes, and the ability to use these learning outcomes in other fields."[3]
  • Social recognition and political recognition are describing how others acknowledge and describe the competence of a learner.
  • Formal recognition is describing and comparing learning, often in form of certificates, licenses, or similar, issued by a formal or non-formal educational institution.

In the EU also the two terms identification and validation are in this connection used.[4]:


  • Makes the individual’s learnings and outcomes in a general way visible
  • Rather in a less formal way
  • Making use of different and free forms of description, assessment and documentation


  • The confirmation by a competent body
  • that learning outcomes have been identified and documented
  • assedded against predefined criteria
  • compliant with the requirements of a validation standard.
  • Validation typically leads to certification.

Your Perspective on Recognition, Identification and Validation

In all learning settings we are able to describe competency levels and the specific mixture of competences required for concrete tasks. This description must go beyond formal grades in order to cover the broad aspects of competencies. Since the crucial point is, that an individual learner is able to translate their competencies to others, it is worth to put efforts into the support of self-reflection and into self-recognition. Especially in non-formal education educational providers and educators need to think beyond certification, as the latter is often not available: validation is in consequence connected with a credible authority in form of a formal learning provider. Attention need to be paid to a credible description how the learning could be applied in specific contexts, and also how it contributed to a transversal competency development.

Inspiring Handbooks and Sources from the Community

Apps and Tools: Recognition, Assessment, Validation


  1. European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2009: The shift to learning outcomes Policies and practices in Europe; p. 30
  2. P. Boivin, J. Baez: Job Bridge – Stocktaking report on the state-of-play of validation in the voluntary sector across the EU; Lifelong Learning Platform; Brussels; October 2019;
  3. YouthPass: About Recognition
  4. European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2009: [ The shift to learning outcomes Policies and practices in Europe]; p. 15