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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning


8.Adult Education and Training

8.5Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Last update: 24 May 2023

Competence assessment and possible outcomes in terms of access, exemption and acquiring certificates varies between the different education and training sectors e.g. VET, HE and adult education and training. For almost all formal adult education and training, a legal framework for validation of prior learning based on common principles has been in place since 2007.

Within this framework, it is a right for individuals to request an assessment of their prior learning in relation to the standards of an education and training programme, no matter where and how competences have been required.

This procedure is known in Danish as the (individual) ‘assessment of real competences’ realkompetencevurdering (RKV) or individuel kompetencevurdering (IKV).

Validation has been developed in Denmark both from a top-down approach and a bottom-up approach. The legislation and the formal framework have been set nationally, but the implementation is decentralised at the provider level.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has also been an important focal point for many years in the non-formal sector especially among organisations and institutions engaged in liberal education. Tools for documenting knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education etc. have been developed.

In Denmark, the validation of prior learning is regulated by laws, as follows:

  • The legislation for upper general education including executive order BEK no. 497 of 18/05/2017 entitles students to get credit transfers for prior learning on the basis of an individual assessment.
  • Act no. 556 of 06/06/2007, entitled ‘Act on Change of Different Laws within the area of the Ministry of Education’ gives each individual the right to have his/her prior learning experiences validated in relation to specific goals of adult education and continuing training programmes. Citizens from other EU countries are granted the same rights to undergo validation processes. Act no. 556 includes the following six educational fields as part of adult education:
  1. Single course subjects in general adult education (AVU);
  2. Single course subjects in general upper secondary education (HF);
  3. Vocational training programme (AMU);
  4. Basic adult education (GVU);
  5. Short-cycle post-secondary adult education (VVU); and
  6. Medium-cycle post-secondary adult education (‘Diploma’ programme).

According to Danish law, the assessment must be conducted by the educational institution offering the corresponding study programmes.

Since 2007, legislation admits individuals to gain access to short-cycle and medium-cycle higher education based on an individual competence assessment. The educational institutions are responsible for information, guidance and assessment of the individual. The Ministry of Children and Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science are responsible for the legislative framework for assessment of prior learning and for taking national initiatives for implementing the legislation. The ministries have developed policy guidelines and funded projects looking at developing tools, methods and procedures. The educational institutions are responsible for counselling/guidance, and for assessing and approving validation within their educational and training programmes. The educational institutions also are also responsible for quality assurance, review and evaluation.

Other stakeholders act as guidance institutions, e.g. job centres, trade unions, unemployment security funds etc.

For more information, please see Cedefop’s national system description on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2014.

A glossary listing terms referenced on this page can be found here.