Clarify Validation and Recognition

The purpose of applying ECVET to mobility is to facilitate credit transfer from one learning environment to another. That is, recognising learning achieved during a period of geographical mobility as an integral part of the intended VET qualification in the home country.


Before embarking on a mobility programme, it must be agreed under which conditions the learning outcomes acquired abroad can be accepted, either as a part of the intended qualification or as an add-on. This might mean, for example, that learners do not have to retake an examination, or are not required to repeat a particular piece of learning activity - especially where such activities have already taken place during mobility.


To ensure that learning outcomes achieved abroad can be integrated into an individual learner’s qualification or pathway, involved partners - in particular the competent body that is responsible for awarding the respective qualification - must clarify the following aspects:


  • with how much flexibility can credit be recognised - taking into account the comparability, complementarity and/or differences between learning outcomes acquired abroad and those forming a part of the original qualification in the home country?
  • how will the validation and recognition of learning (and, in some cases, credit) achieved abroad be carried out and recorded?
  • who is responsible for each step in this process both in the home system and the home organisation (note that in some cases these might not be the same body)?
  • what are the practical consequences of validation and recognition? For example, will the learner receive a certificate? If the learner is participating in a VET programme in which grades are used, how will grades will be awarded for learning outcomes achieved abroad.

Depending on the systems in place, validation and recognition might form two separate steps or be combined in a single action. This should be clarified and explained in the Learning Agreement.


The validation of learning outcomes is generally understood to mean: the process of confirming that one or more learning outcomes that have been achieved (by a learner) and subsequently assessed (by the host institution) correspond to specific learning outcomes which may be required for a unit or a qualification. Validation is preceded by assessment (in the host country) and is based on the documentation of assessed learning outcomes by the involved assessor, recording this in a personal transcript (or similar) document. Those in charge of validation, in the home institution, then take stock of the initial assessor’s judgement, comparing related documentation with the learning outcomes laid down in the learning agreement and examining the extent to which the two documents are consistent. If the expected learning outcomes are met at the required level (proficiency, autonomy, etc.) then the assessment is normally validated meaning that learners can receive a pass or a specific grade.


The recognition of learning outcomes is generally understood to mean: the process of attesting officially-achieved learning outcomes through the award of units or qualifications. Following validation, learners receive official confirmation of the fact that the knowledge, skills and competence acquired abroad have been accepted as part of the intended qualification or as an add-on. In practice, this can mean that learners receive a certificate or that the unit(s) of learning outcomes are recorded in their personal transcript (or similar) document. Recognition can additionally entail that the individual or organisation in charge of recognition verifies that the processes of assessment and validation have taken place according to existing (national, institutional) rules and that there are no irregularities.