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Glossary

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  • certificate / diploma / title

    Definition: 

    An official document, issued by an awarding body, which records the achievements of an individual following an assessment and validation against a predefined standard.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • certification of learning outcomes

    Definition: 

    Process of issuing a certificate, diploma or title formally attesting that a set of learning outcomes (knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences) acquired by an individual have been assessed by a competent body against a predefined standard.

    Comments: 

    certification may validate the outcome of learning acquired in formal, non-formal or informal settings.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • civil society

    Definition: 

    A ‘third sector’ of society beside the State and the market, embracing institutions, groups and associations (either structured or informal), which may act as mediator between citizens and public authorities.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2001 in European Commission, 2001.
  • comparability of qualifications

    Definition: 

    Extent to which it is possible to establish equivalence between the level and content of qualifications (certificates, diplomas or titles) at sectoral, regional, national or international levels.

    Comments: 

    comparability of qualifications improves individuals’ employability and mobility. This term must not be confused with ‘equivalence of qualifications’ (which refers to the similarity of value of certificates or diplomas).

    Source: 
    Cedefop, Bjørnåvold, Tissot, 2000.
  • compensatory learning

    Definition: 

    Learning intended to fill the gaps accumulated by individuals during education or training, mainly to enable them to take part in training.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004.
  • competence

    Definition: 

    Ability to apply learning outcomes adequately in a defined context (education, work, personal or professional development).

    or

    Ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development.

    Comments: 

    competence is not limited to cognitive elements (involving the use of theory, concepts or tacit knowledge); it also encompasses functional aspects (including technical skills) as well as interpersonal attributes (e.g. social or organisational skills) and ethical values.

    Source: 
    Cedefop; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2008.
  • compulsory education

    Definition: 

    Minimal legal standards and duration of obligatory schooling.

    Source: 
    ILO, 1998.
  • continuing education and training

    Definition: 

    Education or training after initial education and training – or after entry into working life aimed at helping individuals to:

    • improve or update their knowledge and/or skills;
    • acquire new skills for a career move or retraining;
    • continue their personal or professional development.
    Comments: 

    continuing education and training is part of lifelong learning and may encompass any kind of education (general, specialised or vocational, formal or non-formal, etc.). It is crucial for employability of individuals.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004.
  • credit system

    Definition: 

    An instrument designed to enable accumulation of learning outcomes gained in formal, non-formal and/or informal settings, and ease their transfer from one setting to another for validation. A credit system can be designed by describing:

    • an education or training programme and attaching points (credits) to its components (modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.); or
    • a qualification using units of learning outcomes and attaching credit points to every unit.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • curriculum

    Definition: 

    Inventory of activities related to the design, organisation and planning of an education or training action, including definition of learning objectives, content, methods (including assessment) and material, as well as arrangements for training teachers and trainers.

    Comments: 

    the term curriculum refers to the design, organisation and planning of learning activities while the term programme refers to the implementation of these activities.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008; Landsheere, 1979.