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Policies and practices in the areas of identification, assessment, and recognition of nonformal learning in the European Union (EU) were reviewed. The review focused on national and EU-level experiences regarding the following areas and issues: recognition of the contextual nature of learning; identification of methodological requirements for assessing and recognizing nonformal learning; and institutional and political requirements. Special attention was paid to the following experiences: (1) the German and Austrian dual system approach; (2) the Mediterranean approach of viewing methodologies for assessment and recognition of nonformal learning as tools for quality improvement; (3) the diverse approaches of the Nordic countries; (4) the National Vocational Qualifications approach in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands; (5) the "opening up" of diplomas and certificates in France and Belgium; and (6) EU-level initiatives. The review established that, during the past few years, most EU member states have begun emphasizing the crucial role of learning that occurs outside of and in addition to formal education and training. This emphasis has led to an increasing number of political and practical initiatives that have in turn gradually shifted the issue from the stage of pure experimentation to that of early implementation. (The bibliography lists 62 references. A glossary is appended.) (MN)

Descriptors: Admission Criteria, Adult Education, Adult Learning, Advanced Placement, Certification, Change Strategies, Comparative Analysis, Competence, Credits, Definitions, Education Work Relationship, Educational Change, Educational Environment, Educational Policy, Educational Quality, Educational Theories, Educational Trends, Employment Experience, Employment Qualifications, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Experiential Learning, Foreign Countries, Glossaries, Informal Education, International Cooperation, International Educational Exchange, Job Placement, Job Training, Learning Experience, Learning Processes, Lifelong Learning, National Programs, Nonformal Education, Nontraditional Education, Open Education, Policy Formation, Postsecondary Education, Prior Learning, Recognition (Achievement), School Business Relationship, Student Evaluation, Student Experience, Student Placement, Systems Approach, Transfer Policy, Trend Analysis, Vocational Education, Work Experience

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Autor: Bjornavold, Jens


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