Norway: new legislation and professional information

– Learning takes place everywhere, both at the level of society and of the individual; no-one starts from zero. It is very important that we retain a broader social point of view all the way, said Senior Adviser Torild Nilsen Mohn from the Norwegian Vox organisation. She told the conference about the success of the Norwegian campaign for validation of learning. According to Mohn, the Nordic countries are pioneers in the area of education, and will surely be able to cope with the new challenges. However, Nordic cooperation alone is not enough: we must look further afield, into other European areas.
Torild Nilsen Mohn
Torild Nilsen Mohn
New legislation has been achieved in Norway for validation of learning on different education levels.
– Many people turn green with envy when they hear how far we have come, Mohn said.
In the regional authorities a system has been implemented which enables the voluntary validation of adults’ learning. All sectors have agreed on a common policy, which includes both information activities and guidance.

Voluntariness and transparency

The rights of the individual are the first and foremost principles in the validation of learning. In other words, the whole system is based on voluntariness, and the documentation is the individual’s property both at the workplace and within the educational system. In the validation process the individual must be taken into account, as well as the different needs that may exist. Different tools are needed because what is being measured varies according to the situation: depending on the individual, it could be practical skills or theoretical knowledge. The crucial thing is that validation of learning is based on trust, reliability and accuracy.
– We trust the results we get because our society is based on trust. A validation statement from one agency is enough for us; we do not need a million confirmations, Mohn said.
She also stressed the importance of transparency; it must be possible to monitor the entire process.
Torild Nilsen Mohn also spoke about the successful information campaign organised by her own organisation, Vox, on validation of learning. The campaign was launched in Vestlandet, the most remote of the Norwegian regions, where local centres (”naeringshager”) have been set up for the activities.
– Fancy words only help to sell your idea for about five minutes; ideas have to be connected to concrete examples, Mohn stated.

Ambassadors are in a key role

She presented some information material written in Nynorsk, directed at both employers and employees. In order to make the campaign as innovative and attractive as possible, Vox hired an advertising agency for the job. A key role in the campaign has been played by so-called ”ambassadors”. The ambassadors’ task is to tell people how they themselves have benefited from validation. The ambassadors have included, among others, a butcher and a teacher who teaches the craft of making traditional wall hangings. The ambassadors participated in press conferences, where their contribution made a deep impact on both ordinary listeners and journalists.
– Media representatives would rather talk to people who have practical experience than to authorities, Mohn asserted.
Through the Vox website ( businesses can chart the skills and competencies of their employees with the help of a ”start-up package” (startpakke). The package includes motivational and informational material and a humorous short film ”Praktikeren”, which presents different ways of charting expertise.