This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



Project Coordinator

            Merseyside Expanding Horizons

Formed in 1998, Merseyside Expanding Horizons Ltd (MEH) is a voluntary community organization based in Liverpool and focussed on social inclusion. With an emphasis on partnership working, we promote social inclusion and deliver a range of projects supporting disadvantaged members of the community with respect to employment, community development, social enterprise development, specialist support and training.
Merseyside Expanding Horizons also provides non-formal and informal learning to support community cohesion and intergenerational communication. MEH has a wide range of experience in the field of personal support for employment, self-employment, social entrepreneurship and volunteer opportunities.

Over the past thirteen years we have carried out many projects at a local, regional and European level to help people to reach their potential and become more active members in the community and overcome barriers to inclusion.
Joe Hemington


         Associazione Formazione 80

Associazione Formazione 80 is a non profit organisation established in 1984 by a group of researcher and adult education teachers. It employs 6 people (4 full-time and 2 part-time collaborators) and a variable number of collaborators depending on the activities. Our activity is focused on the design and implementation of projects of three main kinds: social and economical researches, elaboration and production of didactic materials/modules (in the field of adult education, lifelong learning and vocational training); actions favouring mobility of young adults into Europe and career guidance and job placement for unemployed people (young and adults) with particular attention for those having social, cultural and economical problems.

Since 2010 we have enlarged our activities ccoperating with local adult education centres in providing courses of Italian language and culture to immigrant people resident in Turin. Along the years Formazione 80 has also published different textbooks for adult literacy in Italian language.
Giovanni Ginobili

                        Social Innovation Fund

Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is non-governmental organisation, established in 1994 to assist adults, especially women to make positive changes in their life through the provision of educational opportunities, social support, information and advice.

SIF advocates women’s human rights at international level as it ­is involved in development of Alternative (NGOs) reports for two UN conventions – CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and CESCR (Convent of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). Social Innovation Fund is an active member of European Women’s Lobby (EWL) organisation. SIF has an extensive know-how and experience in designing, organizing and providing learning activities aimed at developing employability and entrepreneurial skills of the learners. Social Innovation Fund became recognized as an extremely effective Lithuanian non-governmental organization working in many different spheres such as: social inclusion, democracy building, women’s human rights, gender equality and diversity. Since the date of the establishment SIF works with socially disadvantaged people (long-term unemployed, disabled, migrants, women survivors of domestic violence and etc.) and is continuously offering free-of-charge or lower-price trainings to enhance their employment opportunities. The SIF is also organising trainings on development of key competences such as digital, civic and social, which are necessary for successful integration of disadvantaged into society and labour market.

Social Innovation Fund is acting at community, national and European/international levels. SIF has over 20 years’ experience in networking on lifelong learning and has an extensive experience in management of EU projects: acting as Coordinator in 10 EU projects and as partner in more than 30 EU projects.
Anzelika Sliackiene

Soneta Ivanove

Staff of Social Innovation Fund and learners after trainings


Windmills is a socially driven organisation and charity whose values are at the heart of what it does each day, every day. It works with those who are ready to meet the challenge of helping themselves and others to fulfil their potential and be all they can be. They do this by supporting individuals to discover what matters to them and what they value, create a compelling and inspiring vision for the future and take the practical steps to realise that vision. They are experts in imagining and creating inspiring and pragmatic resources, tools, and approaches that work for individuals, organisations and communities to maximise their combined potential – “A Three Thinking Approach”

As a small business and charity previously established in the University of Liverpool, with over 15 years of experience, Windmills prides itself on making a difference to a triple bottom line of:

    • Making a life - we all have enormous potential when involved in what we love and feel passionate about
    • Making a difference – we all can make a unique contribution in the world but will make a more significant difference by being part of something greater than ourselves
    • Making a living – we only have one shot at life, it’s far more enjoyable if we work for something we truly believe in.
Suzanne Sweeney

            Verein Multikulturell

Verein Multikulturell – Tyrolean Integration Center is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1993. Our main objectives are to promote professional, social and cultural inclusion of migrants and we aim to enhance intercultural dialogue and education.

All our activities are organised in close collaboration with the Tyrolean Government and other State institutions like the Chamber of Commerce, job centers, schools and other providers of education, as well as different social organizations and societies.

Since several years Verein Multikulturell is involved in national and international projects, as well as in taking up the active role of a transnational project partner.

Verein Multikulturell provides following activities and services:

  • multilingual family counselling and psychotherapy
  • multilingual education/career guidance for young migrants and their parents
  • job application training and interview coaching
  • interactive language and computer classes for adults and youngsters
  • intercultural/diversity seminars and training courses for multipliers media workstation (radio, film, photography & creative writing workshops)
  • international EU projects (Lifelong Learning/Erasmus+, Daphne, EIF)
  • organization of cultural events


Ovagem Agaidyan


CEMÉA (Training Centres for the Promotion of Progressive Education) is a French NGO founded in 1937. Its mission is to disseminate progressive education ideas and principles at the national and international level. CEMÉA is a Progressive Education Movement acting in the fields of youth work, education, mental health and social work and culture. As a training organisation, it contributes – through active education methods – to trainers, teachers, social workers, youth leaders and youth workers’ learning. In this regard, CEMÉA plays a meaningful role for many people for their lifelong learning. CEMÉA acts to build a fairer, more inclusive and equal society in an educational and emancipating perspective.

CEMÉA are active members of the international networks (FICEMÉA: International Federation of CEMÉA), SOLIDAR, EAICY (European Association of Institutions of Non-formal Education of Children and Youth) among others. Through these networks, CEMÉA develops activities at the international level with 107 institutional partners in 65 countries. CEMÉA also has a long-term partnership with the French-German Youth Office (OFAJ). In the Rhône-Alpes region, the regional branch of CEMÉA gathers 17 staff members and is supported by a network of 220 active volunteers. Every year 2400 youth workers attend its training sessions.
Alessandra Santoianni

Les CEMEA work on a public-based programme about school dropout.
The picture, taken in 2014 in a school in Rhône-Alpes, represents one of the activities of the programme.




This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



The Motive project provides a flexible pathway for adult learning including validation of prior learning.


MOTIVE aims at boosting skills and employability through the development of an informal learning and validation methodology which supports adult learners and community development. Motive


The project will develop the methodology and accompanying training and learning resources through a 5 phased approach.
The training and learning resources will also enable learners to map out areas of the lives in terms of WORK (represented by how much time they are in paid employment), LEARNING (represented by the time spent in informal, non-formal, or formal education), PLAY (how much time is spent doing leisure activities, and GIVING (represented by voluntary work) which in turn will support them to develop a personal action plan about which area of their life they would like to develop further. Thus the resources and training materials developed will enable practitioners and learners to develop skills and competencies within each sphere of their lives i.e. personal, social, and vocational.


The project activities are:
- Training and recruitment: Community Learning Managers will be trained and will recruit Community Learning Champions.
- Workshops: Our CLCs will enable learners to develop their own personal pathway through innovative workshops.
- Toolkit validation: CLCs will pilot the Motive Validation toolkit for informal learning.
- Impact assessment: The CLCs will undertake an innovative 3thinking Impact Assessment.

Phase 1

Research and Consultation: The partnership will research 15 good practice examples around personal development in their own country and 15 effective validation tools within community informal and non-formal learning. The partnership will also consult with target learners, through focus groups, to ascertain what the specific barriers they face and to begin the recruitment of Community Learning Champions (volunteers) and to develop CREDOs which will benefit the communities.


Phase 2

Motivate: 5 National Trainers will participate in the initial pilot of the Community Learning Champions course in the UK. This will equip them with the skills and knowledge to support participants in their new role of Community Learning Managers – CLMs. Following on from this they will recruit 5 CLCs and deliver a local training course to adult learners on how to be effective Community Learning Champions.


Phase 3

Innovate: National Community Learning Champions will engage with 150 learners through facilitating practical informal and non-formal group workshops using developed CREDOS (Community Resilience Employability Development Opportunities) enabling learners to develop their own personal pathway of learning and harness their interests and passions. These learning opportunities will also be of benefit to the wider community, for example health promotion days. The CLCs will provide further support and guidance to enable the adult learners to recognise the skills and competencies that they already possess and are using within the learning activity and new skills that they are developing. During this phase of the project Community Learning Managers will also pilot the Motive process guidelines and learning resources which the partnership develops to support the CLCs.

The pilot will investigate 3 dimensions of the training resources and toolkit developed for Community Learning Champions:

• The toolkit itself
• How to create a rich learning initiative for others?
• And, how this process supports learners to move onto positive pathways for example further education?


Phase 4

Validate: As discussed in Stage 3 the CLCS will support the Adult Learners to recognise existing and developing skills and competencies which are identified as key skills within employability. They will do this through the piloting of the Motive Validation toolkit for informal learning. This will be developed through the partnership using the collection of good practices developed in Phase 1 of the project. The Partnership will also develop other OERs which enable learners to validate their skills in a variety of ways – through use of methods such as a personal learning journey, action planning, learning portfolio linking to Europass and EQF. Broadcasting clips involving Adult Education staff, CLCs and adult learners will be developed on a national level demonstrating the successful journey of informal learners in validating these skills. As part of this phase of delivery the CLMs will support CLCs to validate their own skills and learning using the Validation toolkit.


Phase 5

Evaluate: 16 of the Community Learning Champions will also be given the opportunity to undertake a new and innovate 3thinking Impact Assessment. This will look at project impact in relation to the person, the organisation delivering it, and the community as a whole. The CLCs will travel to Lithuania to participate in a pilot training course in the 3thinking Impact Assessment developed by Windmills. Following on from this the CLCs will complete the impact assessment in their own countries with support from their CLM, Windmills and MEH. Findings of the Impact Assessment will be put into a National Impact Assessment report and these will be summarised in an EU Executive Summary detailing the findings and conclusions from each of the partner country pilots and making recommendations about how to improve the Motive method and how it can be used in different settings.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.




This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



Research and Consultation around Community Learning

Italiano English Deutsch Français Lietuvos 

Motive Training Overview and Plan

Italiano English Deutsch Français Lietuvos 

Community Learning Managers Process Guide and Toolkit

Italiano English Deutsch Français Lietuvos 

Validation in Community Learning framework and toolkit

Italiano English Deutsch Français Lietuvos 

3 thinking Impact Assessment framework

Italiano English Deutsch Français Lietuvos 



Download this file in PDF format




During the last decade The European Union repeatedly issued papers and official documents exorting EU Member States to establish systems aimed at guaranteeing the transparency of qualifications and competences (institution of the EUROPASS and Europass CV), the establishment of the European Qualification Framework for lifelong learning in order to make more comparable the qualifications and learning outcomes achieved by learners in different EU Countries, finally in 2012 a recommendation of the European Council encouraged all Member States to set up a procedure for the validation of skills and competences achieved in non-formal and informal learning environments.

At present most EU countries have already established or are developing their own validation systems, although differences are still relevant. If countries such as France or the United Kingdom, just to talk about two involved in this project, can be considered to be well ahead in acknowledging non formal and informal learning achievements, other countries like Italy are still moving their first steps into this field.

To have a better insight on the issue of validation and existing differences (concerning systems, procedures and state of the art) among EU Countries within the MOTIVE partnership, it is worthwhile to have a look at the MOTIVE European Research Report.


Validation is an official procedure for the recognition and acknowledgement of competences and skills acquired by an individual in non-formal and informal learning activities (i.e. attending courses or not linked to the achievement of a qualification, or in their daily lives). Validation is based on the principle that every activity carried out by the human being is a source of learning.

In fact, according to the “European Guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning” published in 2009 by CEDEFOP ( it is possible to distinguish three typologies of learning:

  • Formal learning: It is structured and organised by learning targets/objectives, within a definite timing and employing dedicated resources; It is generally carried out within education and training institutions; It is intentional from the learner point of view; It results in an official certification.
  • Non formal learning: it is generally delivered within planned activities not specifically conceived as learning; it is intentional from the learner point of view; it generally does not provide an official certification;
  • Informal learning: It generally takes place while carrying out everyday activities relating to work, family and leisure time; it is not intentional nor structured or organised by learning objectives, time and resources.

With reference to the validation of non formal and informal learning the guidelines make a further distinction between Validation (properly meant) and Identification

  1. Validation is a process by which an accredited practitioner identifies and measures the learning outcomes of a learner. This approach is generally used to issue a certification of the learning outcomes. Certification consists in a formal recognition that knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the individual were examined and validated by an authorized practitioner against a predefined reference standard. This certification generally results in issuing a qualification, a diploma, etc. Validation of non formal and informal learning presumes a prior definition of reference standards and refers to two main field: work and education.
  2. Identification is a process by which it is possible to identify and list learning outcomes but which does not have as a result the issue of a certification. This is also known as “formative assessment”. This kind of approach provides the learner with an opportunity for reflection and in this sense it is more closely related to the objectives of the MOTIVE project.


Up to now we have given a general overview of what validation is. The next step to be described is how this process can be adapted to the objectives and needs of the MOTIVE project and so what is the meaning we want to attach to the concept of Validation.

The MOTIVE project aims at promoting a training pathway aimed at fostering the ability of learners in analyzing themselves and the community they live in so as to be able to elaborate their own project of change (whether it is personal, social, professional or educational), the CREDO.

The MOTIVE approach and methodologies are applicable to a wide variety of target groups within potentially infinite fields of interest and actions. This would make it impossible to think about a validation process which takes in consideration all possible variables and peculiarities.

If we add to this, the fact that most of project partners (if not all) are not authorized practitioners accredited to release an official certification or qualification, as well as that the aim of the MOTIVE project is not to issue official skills and competences certifications, validation is to be intended as an informal activity to verify and assess the efficacy of the motivation process which brought the learners participating to the activities to develop their own C.R.E.D.O.

Given these premises, validation within the MOTIVE project focuses on the recognition and acknowledgement of the changing process and empowerment experienced by the learners. In fact, it is important to underline that learning can always be considered as a change process in terms of attitude, mind-set, perspective, views. In this context the validation methodologies and resources proposed by the MOTIVE project can be potentially used in all learning environment and setting besides the official validation (properly intended) of achieved learning outcomes and skills.

Another fundamental difference between the official validation process and that adopted within the MOTIVE project is that the protagonist of the assessment is not the practitioner but rather the learners, taken individually or as a group. The tools used are not intended to measure but rather to allow the coming out of the learners’ personal experience of change.


For what concerns this point it is not possible to give prescriptive indications. Each practitioner within its group should be able to evaluate when is the best moment to propose a validation activity.

In general validation takes place at the end of a training or of development pathway. However, in the case of the MOTIVE project, which aims at increasing the level of motivation and participation of learners, we think that envisaging different validation moments along the progress of the activities (at the beginning, in the middle of and at the end of the training) can be a useful help to reach project’s objectives.

Very often learners participating to whatever form of learning do not take enough time to reflect on their progresses and lose motivation along the way in front of difficulties they might encounter because of the lack of perception of the changing process they are undergoing.

In this cases, the use of validation tools during the training pathway can be very useful to show them the progresses they have done and thus in reinforcing motivation, in particular when also the group acknowledge these changes and progresses.


Validation activities can be of different kind: some are aimed at acknowledging specific learning results and are codified by the use within official/formal environments/settings; others, less standardized, are aimed at assessing/measuring the progresses within a learning process. These last can be a useful complement to the former ones, but require some attention on the part of the practitioners.

Activities of this kind can be implemented singularly or within a group and have their own peculiarities (highlighted on the templates further on). However, it is possible to identify some general elements to be taken in consideration:

  • The single learner or the group must always be the protagonist of the activity, while the practitioner by proposing various tools has the function of facilitating reflection and the coming out of learners self awareness on the progresses done and results achieved. The presence of the practitioner must always be very discrete.
  • In this perspective, it is evident that the objectives of each proposed validation activity must always be clear and shared with the single learner and/or the group of learners.
  • Practitioners attitude must always be welcoming, non-judgmental and showing active listening. Practitioners must be able to valorize ideas and feelings expressed by the learners during the implementation of validation activities, help learners to express themselves. Practitioners can intervene to clarify some aspects or to summarise what has been said so far, but without interfering in any way in the discussion.
  • Particular attention should be paid to the timing of the activities, which should be sufficient to allow reflection and thinking, but not too long so as to possibly cause loss of concentration or the set in place of extremely analytical and redundant mental processes from the learners.
  • Especially for group activities, it is of great importance to carefully prepare the setting before starting of the activities: chairs and furniture should be adequately disposed in relation to the activity to be implemented so as to ensure sufficient space to guarantee safe and free movements in the room (if the case) or the distribution of participants into different groups; posters, blackboards and flip charts should be available if necessary, etc.


As we have seen in the chapter above (WHAT IS VALIDATION?) validation processes in non formal and informal learning can be of two different kind (validation and identification), where the one called Identification or also “formative assessment” is closer and more responding to the aims and objective of the MOTIVE project. In fact, this process encourages learners to reflect on themselves, on the way they have gone and on the progresses achieved. In this process the learner plays the central role and the tools used are mainly aimed at raising their awareness and valorize the changes occurred.

Various methodologies can be used in the identification process, which are essentially the same used for the evaluation of formal learning. However, when these tools and methodologies are used in non formal and informal environments they should be combined and applied so as to reflect as much as possible the peculiarity of each single learner as well as the non-standard features of non formal and informal learning. A blending and combination of different tools can be very useful in overcoming the drawbacks and limitation of each single methodology.

Here follows a list of the most used validation tools/methodologies:


Learners, by taking part in debate, can confirm their capacity to sustain a considered argument and demostrate an adequate knowledge of a subject/theme. The debate also offers a context where learners can show their communication and social skills.

Declarative methods

Learners make an evidence-based statement about their learning by responding in writing to present criteria designed to help self-evaluation. The ability to use critical thinking is important and therefore this method is often used jointly with other methods providing more objective evaluation criteria.


Interviews may be particularly useful in those areas where judgment and values are important. Interviews are usually used toghether with other tools allowing a more complete assessment of the learner and providing opportunities to ask for further comments ancd clarification.


A third party assesses the learner's behaviour in carrying out specific task in a particular setting: this tool provides an opportunity to observe real practice. Assessment criteria are established in advance. This methodology does not proscribe cooperation with other colleagues or fellow learners. Depending on the context, it may be complicated to set up and can be time consuming and costly.

Portfolio method

A portfolio is an organised collection of materials that provides evidences of the skills and knowledge acquired by the learner (through experience). This methodology is particularly relevant in validating non-formal and informal learning because it requires the individual to contribute actively to the collection of evidences (producting them and selecting the most relevant ones) and also allows the use of various different approaches strengthening the overall validity of the process (critical thinking, self-reflection, ectc.)


The learner makes a formal presentation to a panel of experts (or peers). This form emphasises communicative and analytical skills as well as ability to structure complex information clearly.

Simulation and task-based evidence

the learner is asked to show his/her performance in a structured situation modelled on a real life. This methodology allows the testing of complex sets of interacting skills. This methodology can be applied in different ways and implies a "role play" where the learner and its peers take on roles to simulate a problem and shoe what they have learned.

Tests and examinations

In the formal validation process, tests are the most used methodology because of their possibility to be used with a wide variety of target groups,, their low costs and their high levels of perceived equity,. In general a test is designed so that learners can respond orally or in writing to pre-defined questions (and answers). A test provides direct assessment of a specific knowledge and skills. It may be an advertage for learners with strong written and oral skills but can raise the level of anxiety. Oral tests may be used to check the understanding of complex issues and the baility to explain them in simple terms. Many tests employ a multiple choice and "true or false" format.


Notwithstanding the validity and efficiency of the above mentioned methodologies, they still retain a rather formal cut and in some cases they require incurring in some expenses. So in this section we will add a collection of other validation tools specifically focused and thought to be used in informal and non formal learning environments, which proved successful when used with learners.

Moreover the tools to follow are customized in order to be particularly adherent to the methodology and process developed by the MOTIVE project.

All the following tools and methodologies are presented in a format providing all relevant information, description and details concerning the recommended timing, number of participants and necessary materials

Click an exercise to see the preview or download

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


contact US


Project Coordinator


Merseyside Expanding Horizons, United Kingdom

Joe Hemington



Partner organisations

Associazione Formazione 80, Italy
Giovanni Ginobili
Socialiniu Inovaciju Fondas, Lithuania

Anzelika Sliackiene

Soneta Ivanove


Windmills Limited, United Kingdom

Suzanne Sweeney


Verein Multikulturell, Austria

Ovagem Agaidyan


CEMEA Rhone-Alpes, France 

Alessandra Santoianni


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.