With regard to the European guidelines on the validation of informal and non-formal learning, the phenomena that is gaining importance in Europe. In terms of differences between formal and informal learning, there is one mayor distinction. Namely, in case of formal education, the results achieved can be found in the national qualifications framework.
According to OECD – informal learning means conscious and organized educational activities, conducted outside of formal education system, that enable a specific group
of participants achieving set education goals.
On the other hand, according to Eurostat – non-formal education can take place both within educational institutions and beyond, and it concerns people from different age groups. Depending on national context it may cover:
- educational programs fighting with illiteracy among adults,
- basic education of children not attending schools,
- developing of life skills,
- developing professional skills,
- developing cultural skills, including propriety.
Verifying the effects of such learning may be seen as part of education, training and employment, though it is still not very transparent. The first European principle of validating informal and non-formal learning puts the individual (learner) in the centre of this process. This proves that the process of achieving knowledge, skills and competences by the learner
is carried out in such a way that it is not obligatory and the validation results remain personal assets of the learner.
Unfortunately, it often happens that adults, who want their competences, gained in non-formal or informal education, being validated, because of many obstacles and lack of appropriate tools, give up and end with no confirmation. The essence of the problem is that the existing tools, are hard to implement. On the other hand, these tools do not guarantee recognition
of results (outcomes) of informal and non-formal education.
Looking from a different point of view, BEVIN – dataBase of Effective opportunities in the field of Validation of non-formal and INformal, aims at helping adults in non-formal
or informal education, but is also aligned with one of the main priorities in adult education – informing on the availability of adult education services, which means giving information
on the subject of informal and non-formal learning validation, career and education.
This will be achieved by creating database, that will contain effective tools for validation
of informal and non-formal learning. The database will fill the gap, that at the moment has just been analysed and concerns an access to the information on informal and non-formal learning validation. Creating a repository for effective tools for informal and non-formal learning validation, will fill this gap in education system. The database will complement deficiencies in the field of internationalization of education, together with the use of distant learning, as well as supporting and developing flexible ways of learning on-line.
Non-formal education through practical measures complements formal education and provides for an effective tool for creating knowledge-based society. This model of education is in the initial stage of development and its influence on educational outcomes is not yet appreciated. Non- formal education is a possible direction for further development. There is
a need for unanimity and consistence within the scope of educational actions taken to improve the quality and effectiveness of learning.