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VALIDATION AND RECOGNITION OF INFORMAL AND NON-FORMAL LEARNING – NEW CHALLENGE FOR UNIVERSITIES’ LIFELONG LEARNING STRATEGIES

D. Piotrowska

Lodz University of Technology (POLAND)
The main research problem, which was confronted was to solve the issue of the identification of the learning outcomes in professional competences acquired by students through non-formal learning. Unfortunately the system which defines learning outcomes acquired formally is imperfect, to say the least. It focuses mainly on the teacher’s perspective and often allows practical skills to be dominated by the amount of theoretical knowledge given to the student. Such presentation of learning outcomes means that it is extremely difficult to compare professional competences with learning outcomes defined for the particular course. That is when we could use the category of LO’s unit - a qualification component (a coherent set of knowledge, skills and competences) which may be subject to assessment and validation.

The project demonstrated the usefulness of special learning outcomes units, as a bridge between learning outcomes and acquired professional competences in the performance of professional tasks.

The foregoing article shall also analyse the risks associated with defining learning outcomes which focus too much on professional competences. Beyond providing students with competences addressing the needs of the labour market, universities should in fact enable them to acquire other important competencies necessary to build a knowledge-based society.