The MIRVA project is funded under the ERASMUS+ /KA2 Framework, by the National French Agency, being a foreward looking initiative, with the following scope and objectives
We are witnessing a growing awareness in large parts of the political, educational and employment sectors as well as in the public opinion, of the need to establish a more open, transparent, reliable and trustworthy approach to the recognition of learning achievements. Recognising non-formal and informal learning is increasingly seen as a way of improving lifelong and life-wide learning and its impact on social inclusion, employment and active citizenship. Yet, despite a number of initiatives and recommendations related to the recognition of informal learning only a fraction of those who could benefit from it have access to this opportunity. The situation is as follows:
1) We need people to further develop their competencies and acquire new ones, but
2) Many who already do this, informally, are generally not recognised in any visible, transparent manner which would allow this informal learning to have a transactional value outside of the place it has been learnt
3) Those seeking (formal) recognition for their learning and achievements usually have to go through institutionalised processes that act as bottlenecks, whereas
4) approaches to (informal) recognition with no (or wider/different) bottlenecks exist and are expanding with the development of digital technologies and social networks.
The MIRVA approach: Making Informal Recognition Visible and Accessible
To contribute to the priority “Providing flexible pathways for adult learners including validation of their prior learning,” MIRVA suggests that innovative approaches are necessary and possible to address the issue that only a very small number of those, who could benefit from the recognition and accreditation of their learning, do have access to it. While past initiatives have at best resulted in widening slightly the gates to formal recognition, the objective of MIRVA is to explore the conditions to providing recognition to all. While most gates to formal recognition have a limited widening capacity, informal recognition has no limit. So if we want to create the conditions for everybody to have their learning and achievements recognised, the focus should be placed on ‘informal recognition’ of learning and achievements. The informal recognition can then be used as the foundation for a more formal recognition of informal learning.
Another challenge addressed by MIRVA is, while formal recognition is explicit and visible through the delivery of certificates and diplomas, informal recognition is implicit, local and mostly invisible to the rest of the world. To make informal recognition, we can build on the experience of an instrument created to improve the recognition of informal learning: Open Badges.
Making Informal Recognition Visible will be achieved through the exploitation of Open Endorsements, the new feature now available thanks to the 2.0 Open Badges specification.
The main target groups addressed are the stakeholders that can contribute to making informal recognition visible and bridge the gap between informal and non formal recognition, in particular:
– Adult learners
– Communities of practice- Adult education providers
– Vocational education providers
– Technology providers
– Local communities/authorities
– Awarding bodies