Conference paper Open Access

On the Development and Role of the Validation of Acquired Experiential Learning in France

Dif, M'Hamed

Nägele, Christof; Kersh, Natasha; Stalder, Barbara

Context: The validation of acquired experiences (VAE) of non-formal and informal learning outcomes constitutes alongside initial and continuing vocational education and training systems, the third pathway of access to vocational qualification certifications in France. It is connected to the national qualification framework and its directory RNCP (the national repertory of vocational qualifications) by allowing the VAE candidates to have access to the same qualifications accessible through the formal VET learning tracks. As it is practised at present, it allows any individual accumulating prior working experiences of at least one year in any type of activity connected with the domain of the targeted qualification, to apply for the validation of its required units/blocs of competences without undertaking any formal learning within the initial or continuing formal learning systems. The accreditation of the required units for the targeted qualification can be either partial or complete with an immediate award of the certification. In this context, this paper is an investigation into the background developments, the functioning mechanisms, performance and role of the validation of acquired experiential learning in VET and the whole educational and training system in France. 

Methods: The adopted investigation methodology in this research is mainly based on recent scientific desk research, including documentation and performance evaluation reports and studies conducted and published by the stakeholders involved in the VAE. It is also based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the VAE related data obtained mainly through two main sources: First, the annual inquiries n°62 and n°67 conducted by the ministries of national and higher education; Secondly, the annual compilation of aggregated data from various ministries involved in the VAE process by the directorate for the animation of research, studies and statistics (DARES) of the ministry of labour. 

Findings and conclusions: As a result, this investigation allowed for underlining the following outcome and concluding points: First, since its main reform undertaken within the framework of the Social Modernisation Act of the 17th January 2002, the accessibility flow of VAE candidates to a full validation and certification has been observed to register an important development with an average of 25,000 per year, including the confirmation of the VAE inclusive role in favour of initially low skilled beneficiaries. Secondly, the VAE has also been observed to contribute qualitatively to the promotion of professionalisation, employability, mobility and learning path fluidity and complementarity between the formal learning tracks and informal and non-formal experiential learning. 

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