Validation of nonformal and informal learning is gaining importance in Flanders

Validation of nonformal and informal learning is gaining importance in Flanders

EVC: In Dutch, EVC stands for ‘erkennen van verworven competenties’ (Validation of nonformal and informal learning in English) and involves a specific procedure where candidates' competences can be formally recognised. The procedure of recognising competences is worked out in an EVC pathway. This EVC pathway involves four steps:

  • Naming of competences: identifying;
  • Mapping competences: documenting;
  • Having competences assessed: assessing;
  • Certifying competences: certifying.

At least the last two steps of an EVC pathway happen in an EVC test centre, such as adult education centres and VDAB, among others. The EVC test centres assess candidates using EVC instruments based on EVC standards. EVC standards are defined criteria that are used to assess whether the candidate's competences match the competences described in the relevant professional qualifications. The assessment of competences is done through assessment. In this way, the assessment of competences takes place in a similar way everywhere. Those who can demonstrate that they have the necessary competences receive a certificate of professional qualification, a certificate of partial qualification or a certificate of competences from the EVC test centre.


EVC and lifelong learning: EVC pathways have a number of important added values for strengthening citizens' competences and lifelong learning:

  • EVC provides insight into a person's knowledge and skills;
  • PAC strengthens and creates more career opportunities;
  • PAC speeds up the qualification process; by having competences assessed, one can acquire exemptions, undergo shortened training and thus obtain a qualification faster;
  • EVC offers opportunities; as you can still obtain qualifications;
  • EVC helps employers map competences. Thus, training, recruitment and promotion opportunities can be better matched;
  • EVC simplifies the process of translating foreign qualification certificates into Flemish qualifications.


Expertise built up: In recent years, IDEA Consult has built up a great deal of expertise on EVC. At the request of AHOVOKS, we investigated how users of EVC standards and EVC instruments use them and how they experience them. Even more recently, we were commissioned by AHOVOKS to prepare an inventory and analysis of tools and methodologies for EVC guidance. In this study, we mapped which tools and methodologies are currently used in Flemish test centres with regard to EVC guidance, which are the strengths and weaknesses of these tools and methodologies, how EVC guidance is integrated in the test centres and which organisations (can) direct candidates to EVC test centres. These two studies built on the expertise accumulated in the context of a cost-benefit analysis of EVC in Flanders . That analysis was conducted in preparation for the 2019 'Decree on an integrated policy for the recognition of acquired competences'. The basis of the analysis was a detailed overview of the process steps that can be part of an EVC procedure, with guidance as the common thread throughout the process. In 2013, EVC was also examined from a company perspective . More specifically, it was investigated whether companies, as part of their HR policy, are requesting and/or involved in services and actions related to the identification, documentation and/or formal recognition of competences. In addition, the actual (non-)use and perceived potential of proof of experience was also investigated.


Sharing expertise at European level: With the expertise gained, IDEA Consult is now taking the next step to share the knowledge at European level. For a European Commission assignment led by ICF, Ditte Kimps and Marie Antoine of IDEA Consult have been appointed as country experts for the Flemish and French communities. For both communities, an update of the inventory of EVC is to be made, resulting in a country report and database on EVC in Belgium by the end of 2023. They follow up the 2018 reports and database .


Turning expertise into tool development: IDEA Consult will go one step further this year and turn its expertise on tools and methodologies for EVC into its development. Together with AP Hogeschool, through Educational Design research and Service Design thinking, we will develop tools for EVC candidates, supervisors and tutors that are tailored to concrete EVC practice in Flanders and the needs of potential users.

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foto Ditte Kimps
Ditte Kimps
Expert in Education & Lifelong Learning