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    Informal / non-formal learning
ECML PROGRAMME - Programme 2012-2015

Informal / non-formal learning

From a lifelong perspective, learning that takes place in formal educational settings covers only a limited period of time. This means that to a very substantial degree learning takes place in informal situations and in intentionally organised non-formal settings. It can be assumed, though, that formal education is paving the way for motivation and skills for autonomous language learning. Therefore, language educators can have a strong impact on whether language learning takes place outside school and how this may occur.

In this area, the ECML aims to explore provision for learning and settings that provide a low threshold for learners of any age inviting them to become interested, involved and committed to language learning. The effective use of new communication technology, the exploration of pedagogic approaches introduced with the European Language Portfolio are areas to explore in order to impact on the quality of lifelong learning.

Informal learning: Learning resulting from daily life activities related to work, family or leisure. It is not organised or structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. Informal learning is in most cases unintentional from the learner's perspective. Comments: informal learning outcomes do not usually lead to certification but maybe validated and certified in the framework of recognition of  prior learning schemes; informal learning is also referred to as experiential or incidental/random learning (Glossary. Quality in education and training. European Centre for the Development of Vocationa Training, 2011, p.85).

Non-formal learning: Learning which is embedded in planned activities not explixitly designated as learning (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support). Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view. Comments: non-formal learning outcomes may be validated and lead to certification; non-formal learning is sometimes described as semi-structured learning (Glossary. Quality in education and training. European Centre for the Development of Vocationa Training, 2011, p.113).

The projects

Languages in corporate quality (LINcq)

  Project duration: 2012-2013
Project website in English / French
View project description

The LINCQ project will prepare tools and resources designed to enhance awareness of innovative language competence development and assessment within the broad business community, in particular encouraging companies to recognise plurilingualism as a significant element of the corporate quality framework.


Developing migrants’ language competences at work (Language for work)

  Project duration: 2012-2015
Project website in English/French
View project description

The project seeks to establish a European learning network to support researchers, learning providers, employers, trade unions and policy-makers in an emerging field: learning (including formal, non-formal and informal learning) of the majority language by migrants and ethnic minorities for work. A website to share and develop practice across different European countries will be set up.


Collaborative Community Approach to Migrant Education

  Project duration: 2013-2014
Project website in English/French
View project description

This project will explore new ways to enhance young migrants' education by developing links between schools, the home and local partners in education. This educational joint venture aims to develop the learners’ skills in the language of schooling and their plurilingual competences. New ways of teaching will be explored by producing multi-modal texts. Online resources as well as accompanying documents will be developed in cooperation with libraries and other local partners.