A. INFORMAL LEARNING: THE BIGGER PICTURE.
Nowadays, in the context of globalising world and unlimited access to numerous resources of information and social media, we are part of continuous cycle of interacting, experiencing and learning. Acquiring skills and competences informally, not only to keep pace with the dynamic economic and socio-political changes but for the sake of self-development and potential unleash, has become part of our everyday life. Lifelong learning is a key success factor, helping us adapt to the changes and acquire competences needed to accommodate to the new environment. That is why main strategic aim of the European Commission is “Making the European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality” (2001) by improving knowledge, skills and competencies within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective.
This notion is also supported from academic perspective. According to Hasselhorn and Gold (2009) learning is a process of acquiring and understanding that leads to changes in the behaviour of the learner during his/her entire life. And by following the principles of the constructivist theory, this is achieved through immersion in the context – by experience (A.Scheer, C.Noweski, C.Meinel, 2012). Statements that lead to the conclusion that lifelong learning happens all around us and follows competence-based approach.
In future, rapid, customised learning scenarios are becoming increasingly necessary, which are oriented on concrete action and to the skills required in practice - and less on curricula and static job descriptions.
For this reason, European experts from research and practice have developed LEVEL5® since 2005 – as a system designed to plan and deliver "competence-oriented learning” (COL) in practical, informal contexts and validate and visualise the competence developments therein.
In the European project IMPACT a “new way of competence oriented learning” is promoted through open educational resources and rich open learning. In addition, IMPACT promotes validation of knowledge, skills and attitude as innovative element of competence oriented learning. The notion is to be AWARE of your learning progress.