The recognition of non-formal education in higher education: Where are we now, and are we learning from experience?
Special aspects of education
Theory and practice of education
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AbstractThe increasing availability of non-formal education in the form of Open Education Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) gives rise to the questions of how such education can be formally recognized for credit. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), and Qualification Frameworks are fields of practice actively engaged in and associated with the recognition of non-formal education (RNFE) and can provide guidance on RNFE for the recognition of OERs/MOOCs. A scoping exercise reviews the literatures from the three fields and associated practical exemplars. Findings suggest a growing demand for, growth in, and diversification of, the recognition of non-formal education. Synergies or creative combinations of expertise across the three fields that could be further exploited to gain maximum traction for RNFE are identified. These are multi-dimensional: top-down, bottom-up, sector to sector, country to country, qualification framework to qualification framework, system to system, field to field. There is ample evidence that the process of recognition, albeit demanding, does have a positive effect on the quality of the NFE, and by association, it is hoped, on the qualification status of individuals and their access to related social and economic benefits.