A Practitioners Guide to Validation

ValiGuide is a Nordic platform for validation practitioners.
The platform describes what validation is about, the stages in the validation process, the competences required for qualified validation,
and gives tips and tricks for better implementation.
ValiGuide is the result of a Nordplus project: Competence-pro, and hosted by the Nordic Expert Network for Validation

 
Documentation of the individual’s competences is focused on how to make visible his or her competences acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning. In this process the individual becomes increasingly aware of his or her existing competences. The validation practitioners need to be aware that individual competences differ from person to person as they have been acquired in various contexts.The documentation phase might lead to the assessment and certification phases, but it is also possible, that an individual’s validation purpose only includes identification and documentation in order to acknowledge learning experiences. The concepts documentation and mapping are used in some validation contexts for the process of making competences visible. In EU papers documentation is used as identical with mapping. At this knowledge platform documentation is used as the concept for both mapping and documentation of learning outcomes.

 

Documentation/DOCUMENTS

Competence requirements

The VPL practitioner is able to:

  • Demonstrate good knowledge on laws and regulations on validation
  • Record the VPL results so that they are legitimate and reliable carried out according to requirements, and have value regardless of where validation was performed
  • Enforce the requirements of clarity and traceability of the results of validation
  • Document each step of the validation process
  • Foster the certification process in his/her role
  • Identify the participants´s rights regarding confidentiality and the ownership of results
  • Foster and advance the quality assurance procedures in VPL
  • Provide key information for statistical follow up
     

Tips and tricks

  • Clarification and concretization of learning objectives help the VPL applicants to relate own competences to the education
  • Transfer existing tools and methods proven valuable in some contexts to various contexts because this contributes to the acceptance of individual’s validation results
  • The use of multiple documentation methods ensures reliable assessment
     
 
In the assessment phase the individual’s learning outcomes are compared against specific standards, but might also involve evaluation of other forms of evidence. 
For the validation of non-formal and informal learning it is crucial that assessment relies strongly on transparency and reliability of the assessment tools, and the way they are used in the assessment stage. The assessment criteria, standards and methods are clearly defined for both the assessment practitioners and for the individual VPL user when carrying out the assessment. The assessment stage has a merely summative perspective and will often require the involvement of external assessors.
 

Assessment/DOCUMENTS

Competence requirements

The VPL practitioner is able to:

  • Display appropriate knowledge about the validation system in question
  • Understand the VPL standards and assessment criteria and is able to relate them to educational standards and real work life situations and performance
  • Relate that the assessment procedure is also a learning process
  • Recognize the depth, width and scope of the competences of the individual
  • Effectively negotiate with the parties involved in the assessment process
  • Identify individual’s knowledge, skills and competences and to present justification for the assessment results
  • Record and document the results of assessment
  • Present the results of assessment for certification purposes
  • Make appropriate action to ensure confidentiality and individual rights
  • Appreciate the importance and aims for neutrality of assessment
  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills and competences in employing diverse and enriching assessment methods (triangulation)
  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills and competences in different interviewing techniques and communication methods.

 

Tips and tricks

  • It is important that the assessor is given sufficient time to review the individual’s portfolio and self-assessment results
  • It is necessary to have variable assessment methods available
  • It is useful to try out different assessment methods
  • Remember to remind the assessor that more options for collecting information are available if the assessment interview does not give sufficient information
  • Distinguish non-formal learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills and competences
  • Use criteria and concepts in accordance with EQF / NQF and / EU currencies in order to ensure ‘one step up’ for the VPL candidate
  • If applicable, realistic and relevant, use credit systems as ECTS and ECVET (used in the formal education and training systems) also in validation of non-formal learning outcome
 

The final stage in a full validation process is the certification of the results of assessment which might lead to partial or full qualification, i.e. linked to the award of a formal qualification. Reaching the stage of formal certification in the validation process requires a summative assessment confirming the achievement of learning outcomes against a specified standard. The use of summative approaches for validating non-formal and informal learning needs to be strongly linked or integrated to national qualification systems. Some countries issue separate certificates of qualifications for non-formal and informal learning. The certification process is managed by an accredited organisation or authority.

Certification/DOCUMENTS

Competence requirements

The VPL practitioner is able to:

  • Demonstrate good knowledge on laws and regulations on validation
  • Record the VPL results so that they are legitimate, carried out according to requirements, and have value regardless of where validation was performed
  • To enforce the requirements of clarity and traceability of the results of validation

Tips and tricks

  • Use criteria and concepts in accordance with EQF / NQF and / EU currencies in order to ensure ‘one step up’ for the VPL candidate
  • If applicable, realistic and relevant, use credit systems as ECTS and ECVET (used in the formal education and training systems) also in validation of non-formal learning outcome