What the Numbers Say



What the Numbers Say

– Most decisions in the field of validation are currently based on faith, economist and researcher Patrick Werquin said in his conference presentation.

Some findingsHe tried to answer one of the most important questions concerning the recognition of non-formal and informal learning: What are the benefits?

– Unfortunately, with the exceptions of France, Portugal and some other countries, there is very little data on the subject, Werquin pointed out.

Two surveys have showed some positive results from validation and certification in France. The main findings were as follows:
• Certified unemployed people gain employment faster than those not certified, but the effect is a small one.
• There is some evidence that participants continue, or are motivated to continue, with formal education after the process.
• The surveys offer little evidence that people going through APEL (Accreditation of prior learning) processes achieve higher wages.
• Participants gain a lot of personal benefits like self-esteem and confidence. 

The audience were disappointed to hear that the data so far pointed to little “Second Chance” potential. The surveys showed that the lower the level of initial competences, the less participants benefitted from validation.
– Validation processes are not suitable for people with very little to validate, proposed Werquin.
– For them it would be better just engaging in some kind of training.
– But high degrees of guidance through the process could give some benefits, he added, offering some hope.

The Nordic countries

Swedish researcher Per Andersson presented some insights into the work being done in the Nordic countries. Although some data is available, he, too, emphasized the need for more research in the field of validation.
– At present, the data we have is mostly qualitative, and mostly from Sweden, he told the audience.
– The challenge is of course getting resources for research, but also getting researchers interested in the field.
Still, he remained quite optimistic about the future.
– More RPL research (Recognition of Prior Learning) could be expected in the Nordic countries in the future, he concluded, pointing to the increasing effort being put on RPL in policy and practice.


Patrick Werquin:PDF | Per Andersson:PDF