Sweden: respect for the individual is crucial

– Validation of learning is not a new phenomenon. Demonstrations of professional skills and the route from apprentice to journeyman and master have existed for a long time in working life. However, validating learning and then comparing it with school learning has been rare, stated Kerstin Svensson, who told the conference about Valideringsdelegationen, a new public authority in Sweden.
When the nationwide Kunskapslyftet campaign was launched in 1997, the Swedish government brought up the need for more efficient use of resources on the level of the state, the municipality and the individual citizen. This was one of the reasons why validation of learning received much attention.
During the Kunskapslyftet campaign (1997-2002), validation of learning evolved into a significant concept. However, municipalities, education providers and various organisations have each established their own separate systems for validation. This makes the situation difficult to understand and creates qualitative differences between the systems. Two Swedish studies have been carried out on validation: one focusing on skills and competencies obtained abroad, and a broader-based study which included a pilot project.

Encouragement creates a feeling of success

One of the most important things in working with validation of learning is the ability to show respect.
– We should not assess these people’s knowledge levels, but instead encourage them, make them feel that they have surpassed themselves, Svensson said.
She stated that formal competencies can co-exist with informal ones. By creating a respect for informal competencies in the education system, a respect for formal learning is created at the other end.
Validation of learning can be carried out orally or in written or digital format, depending on the professional field of the individual and her or his personal needs and qualifications. The validation process can take place in a learning environment or at the workplace. It is important to separate validation of learning from continuing education, which the individual may need in order to qualify for further education or working life.

Literature: Validering m.m. – fortsatt utveckling av vuxnas lärande (Ds 2003:23 April 2003)
En strategi för kunskapslyft och livslångt lärande, SOU 1996:27

VLD promotes quality, legality and equality

The Swedish National Commission on Validation, Valideringsdelegationen, (VLD) was established at the beginning of 2004 and it will be abolished at the end of 2007. The VLD, which has ten members and a chairperson, is an independent public authority. No organisational infrastructure has been created for the commission, which instead uses outsourced services. The staff working at the office includes, besides Director Eva Nordlund , five other people.
The tasks of the VLD include promoting quality, equality and legality, carrying out and supporting development activities, and strengthening regional cooperation in order to achieve functioning working methods. The VLD is also responsible for disseminating information and drafting proposals for ensuring the future of validation of learning after 2007.
The VLD publishes an electronic newsletter (ValiBREV), maintains a public database (ValiBAS), and organises conferences and seminars.
Website: www.valideringsdelegationen.se