Saturday, 19 August, 2017

VITA project- validation of informal and non-formal learning

"VITA conference-validation of personal competences in informal and non-formal learning"

Wednesday 9th October 2013, Dublin, IrelandPanel Discussion-VITA Validation of non-formal learming

Ever wondered how to measure soft skills? Or how to demonstrate that those skills learned during a course or in an informal way are actually important for the job you're applying for?
Professional life and career development are increasingly determined by continuous learning which helps to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. In the service sector, personal and social skills are essential, thus becoming competitive factors at job/career level.

VITA conference validation of non-formal learning-participants


The European project VITA (Validation of personal and social competences relevant in the service economy) is looking at a way of measuring these soft skills or "competences".
Pilot projects, including one in a community education setting in Ireland, ran during 2013 to build a standardised way of measuring these skills and the results of the pilots were presented at a meeting in Dublin at the beginning of October 2013. Please find details of each pilot below:

 VITA Award


La VITA è bella: VITA is a European GRUNDTVIG project funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme and deals with validating social, personal and organisational competences that are essential for the challenges of the European service economy.

Currently, the VITA partnership is organising a European competition, where innovative practice and initiatives on validating competences in informal and non-formal learning in VITA Award la vita e bella- WinnersEurope will be awarded. We are looking for innovative learning projects in all educational fields that promote the development of personal, social and organisational competences in an innovative way and include practical cases or at least ideas on how learning outcomes and competence developments within this specific competence area can be assessed and evidenced also beyond the walls of formal education.

The ten most innovative projects were chosen by an international jury and the winners were invited to an award ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday 9th October 2013.

The VITA project

The VITA project is part of a series of projects on the Validation of informal learning outcomes within the European Life Long Learning Programme. AONTAS is involved in the the project together with 9 other partner organisations from different countries.

Hence professional lives are increasingly determined by the need for continuous learning to adapt to rapidly changing demands and concepts like external (customer) orientation, team work/ cooperation, etc. social competences are more and more necessary for effective management in the services sector. Social, personal and organisational competences are becoming competitive factors in the job market and as such aspired competences both for employment and societal reasons. These rather cross-cutting competences are often learnt in informal contexts, be it in extracurricular activities connected with school education, societal learning (active citizenship) or organisational learning in higher education beyond formalised curricula. Thus the mentioned competences are being developed in a sphere that overlaps all educational sectors: schools, higher education, VET and adult education.

As far as the validation of these competences is concerned an "off the shelf"-assessment against standardised systems (e.g. entirely developed on basis of EQF, ECVET and ECTS) is barely conceivable because in most of the cases they are not suitable to display non-cognitive learning outcomes that determine service orientation, such as interaction, tolerance, commitment, motivation etc.

VITA intends to link formal validation approaches based on EQF with evidence of social and personal competence development which are essential in the service sector.

If you want to learn more about the VITA project please visit: