European Learner Mobility

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European Learner Mobility (EuroLM)


Scope


This standard will be a data model for the expression and exchange of European Learner Mobility information, as defined by the European transparency instruments. This standard will support the interoperability of European-wide IT systems that manage and exchange Europass related information. The standard will build on existing learning technology specifications and take into account related national application profiles.

Justification

The enhancement of learner mobility and employability has become a high priority action item within the European Education Area. Indeed, the establishment of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and Europass as a framework for the transparent description of qualifications and competences aspire to provide the common basis for the well-structured recording of all opportunities for life-long learning including European higher education structures and learners' private / institution-owned information.

The need for related support services at a European level, ranging from secure management and exchange of learning-related history, goals and accomplishments, to new learning and employment opportunities discovery, has already begun to emerge. This identified requirement for moving towards actual technical implementations gets more and more urgent, as policy specifications and transparency instruments gain maturity and application value, thus fomenting the development of a new generation of upgraded services to the European learning and education systems as well as economy.

At a national level, there have been several standardization activities for the creation of technical specifications capable of supporting the development of relevant information technologies (IT) systems. These activities build upon existing learning technology specifications and a number of countries have already built up expertise in the application profiling of such specifications for the accommodation of mobility information.

However, harmonization is deemed necessary towards a European solution. Ιn order to provide viable support for the emerging European learner information systems and dissuade European service providers from developing proprietary services and platforms, it is essential that interoperability standards for the representation of learner and related information are agreed upon by all European countries and stakeholders. By mapping information to common interoperability specifications, the exchange of operational data between systems will be enhanced and it will also become easier to move reference data into new systems as software is upgraded or replaced.

Background

At its Lisbon meeting in March 2000, the European Council set the i2010 goal for the European Union to "become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion"

Making this happen will mean a fundamental transformation of learning, education, and training throughout Europe. Actions in these fields involve the development of the European Higher Education Area (the "Bologna process") and the enhanced European co-operation in Vocational Education and Training (the "Copenhagen process"). As part of the Lisbon mandate, the Commission has taken initiatives to establish synergies between both processes for the design of national frameworks of qualifications and an overarching European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for Lifelong Learning, taking into account the work done in the Bologna and Copenhagen contexts.

Qualifications frameworks can be defined as "a systematic description of an education system's qualifications where all learning achievements are measured and related to each other". The aims and purposes of qualifications frameworks are manifold. In particular, they intend to:

  • Facilitate the comparability and compatibility of degrees and qualifications through the use of common reference points for competences.
  • Support the recognition of degrees, as well as the recognition of experimental, informal and non-formal learning.
  • Ease mobility, mostly through the easier recognition within and between the university sector and other types of post-secondary education.
  • Build the link between higher education, business and lifelong learning.
  • Contribute in the improvement of the European cooperation with regards to quality assurance.
  • Foster the social dimension, mainly through providing more flexible learning paths, thus promoting social inclusion.
  • Provide good guidance for curricula changes e.g. in terms of shifting from teaching-based to learner-centred systems.
  • Provide more transparency for the labour market and for learners, as it will become more visible and understandable what skills and competences are achieved at a given level or in a given degree.

Qualifications frameworks can achieve their full benefit only in combination with specific informational and measuring instruments, two of the most essential being the "European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System" (ECTS) and the "Single Community Framework for the Transparency of Qualifications and Competences (Europass)". The ECTS is a learner-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a programme, objectives preferably specified in terms of the learning outcomes and competences to be acquired. Europass is described as a personal, coordinated portfolio of documents, which citizens can use on a voluntary basis to better communicate and present their qualifications and competences throughout Europe. Each of the Europass documents defines information structures for the presentation in a clear and comprehensive way of several types of learner information. In particular, Europass consists of the:

  • Europass CV, a curriculum vitae structure for the presentation of an individual's qualifications and competences.
  • Europass Mobility, which records periods of learning attended by its holders in countries other than their own.
  • Europass Diploma Supplement (DS), which supplies information on its holder's educational achievements at higher education level.
  • Europass Language Portfolio (LP), providing individuals with the opportunity to present their language skills.
  • Europass Certificate Supplement (CS), describing the competences and qualifications corresponding to a vocational training certificate
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