Validation and recognition take place when the mobile learner returns to the home organisation or institution, with actions normally carried out in line with the provisions of the Learning Agreement.
For the validation of learning outcomes achieved abroad, staff in the sending institution will consider documentation relating to the assessment of learning outcomes, as provided by the host institution, and will compare this to that which has been agreed in the Learning Agreement. Validation is normally achieved where expected and assessed learning outcomes are sufficiently consistent and adequately documented. Final decisions will additionally take into account the specific context of learning and assessment taking place during the mobility period, including any possible language barriers that learners may have faced in the host organisation and country.
The recognition of learning outcomes means the process of attesting officially-achieved learning outcomes through the award of credit, units or qualifications.
Depending on the specific context, the validation and recognition of learning outcomes can be done in a single act or in two distinguished steps and by one or more organisations:
- in case the VET provider in the home country is competent (or responsible) for recognising and awarding credit, the same organisation can not only validate but also recognise achieved learning outcomes, for example, by awarding credit or issuing a certificate.
- in case another organisation is competent (or responsible) for awarding units or qualifications, this organisation usually also has to be involved: where it can be verified that rules governing training delivery and assessment have been fully complied with, such third-party organisations will normally confirm that achieved learning outcomes can be accepted as part of an existing programme, unit or qualification, albeit taking the form of extra-credit in some cases.
Once the assessed learning outcomes have been validated by the home organisation, the practical implications that have been agreed in advance can then be implemented - for example, a learner might be exempted from certain learning activities, or might not have to retake certain exams.
In cases where the learning outcomes achieved during a period of mobility are not sufficiently consistent with the learning outcomes specified in the Learning Agreement, full recognition might not be achieved.
Whilst true that ECVET supports quality and recognition in mobility, there will always be exceptional situations, with possible reasons for limited achievement including: illness of the learner (during mobility) or unpredicted changes in the training institution or host company, limiting the delivery of planned learning activities. In all such cases, staff at the home institution will discuss achieved and non-achieved learning outcomes, with individual learners, suggesting one or more remedial measures.
In this video, Susanna Vestling of Yrkesakademin i Österbotten (Finland), talks of validation and recognition processes with a specific focus on additional (unforeseen, unplanned) learning outcomes.