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Glossary

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  • e-learning

    Definition: 

    Learning supported by information and communication technologies (ICT).

    Comments: 
    • e-learning is not limited to ’digital literacy’ (acquiring ICT skills). It may encompass multiple formats and hybrid methods: using software, Internet, CD-ROM, online learning or any other electronic or interactive media;
    • e-learning can be used as a tool for distance education and training but also to support face-to-face learning.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • education or training path

    Definition: 

    Sum of learning sequences followed by an individual to acquire knowledge, skills or competences.

    Comments: 

    a learning path may combine formal and non-formal learning sequences.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • education or training pathway

    Definition: 

    Set of related education or training programmes provided by schools, training centres, higher education institutions or VET providers, which eases the progression of individuals within or between activity sectors.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • education or training provider

    Definition: 

    Any organisation or individual providing education or training services.

    Comments: 

    education and training providers may be organisations specifically set up for this purpose, or they may be other bodies, such as employers who provide training as part of their business activities. Training providers also include independent individuals who offer services.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • educational attainment

    Definition: 

    Highest level of education or training completed by an individual.

    Comments: 

    educational attainment:

    • is measured according to the highest educational programme successfully completed, which is typically certified by a qualification;
    • can be measured against ISCED or EQF levels.
    Source: 
    Cedefop; Unesco, 2011.
  • emerging / new skills

    Definition: 

    Abilities for which demand is increasing in existing or new occupations.

    Comments: 

    identification of new/emerging skills needs is crucial to prevent skill gaps and shortages, foster employability of citizens and meet needs of the economy.

    Source: 
    Cedefop.
  • employability

    Definition: 

    Combination of factors which enable individuals to progress towards or get into employment, to stay in employment and to progress during their careers.

    Comments: 

    employability of individuals depends on:

    • personal attributes (including adequacy of knowledge and skills);
    • how these personal attributes are presented on the labour market;
    • environmental and social contexts (incentives and opportunities offered to update and validate their knowledge and skills); and
    • the economic context.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008, based on Scottish Executive, 2007; The Institute for Employment Studies, 2007.
  • Europass

    Definition: 

    Portfolio of five documents helping citizens to better communicate their skills and qualifications when applying for job or study in Europe.

    • the Europass CV and the Language Passport are completed by citizens themselves;
    • the other three documents can be issued to citizens who achieve a mobility experience in another European country (Europass Mobility) or who complete a formal programme of vocational education or training (Certificate supplement) or of higher education (Diploma supplement).
    Comments: 

    Europass promotes an adequate appreciation of learning outcomes acquired in formal, non-formal or informal settings.

    Source: 
    Cedefop.
  • European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET)

    Definition: 

    Technical framework for transfer, validation and, where appropriate, accumulation of learning outcomes by individuals, to achieve a qualification. ECVET tools and methodology comprise a description of qualifications in units of learning outcomes with associated points, a transfer and accumulation process and complementary documents such as learning agreements, transcripts of records and ECVET users’ guides.

    Comments: 

    This framework aims to promote:

    • mobility of people undertaking training;
    • accumulation, transfer and validation of learning outcomes (either formal, non-formal or informal) acquired in different countries;
    • implementation of lifelong learning;
    • transparency of qualifications;
    • common trust and cooperation between providers of vocational training and education in Europe.

    ECVET is based on the description of qualifications in terms of learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and/or competences), organised into transferable and accumulable learning units to which credit points are attached and registered in a personal transcript of learning outcomes.

    Source: 
    Cedefop; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2009a.
  • European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS)

    Definition: 

    A systematic way of describing a higher education programme by attaching credits to its components (modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.), to:

    • make study programmes easy to read and compare for all students, local and foreign;
    • encourage mobility of students and validation of learning outcomes;
    • help universities to organise and revise their study programmes.
    Comments: 

    ECTS is based on the student workload required to achieve a programme’s objectives, specified in terms of learning outcomes to be acquired. The student workload of a full-time study programme in Europe amounts in most cases to around 1500 to 1800 hours per year and in these cases one credit stands for around 25 to 30 hours. Individuals who can demonstrate similar learning outcomes acquired in other learning settings may obtain recognition and credits (waivers) from degree awarding bodies.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008, based on European Commission, 2004.
  • European governance

    Definition: 

    Rules, processes and behaviour implemented for exercising power at European level.

    Comments: 
    • governance must ensure that public resources and problems are managed effectively, efficiently and in response to critical needs of society;
    • effective governance relies on public participation, accountability, transparency, effectiveness and coherence.
    Source: 
    based on Eurovoc thesaurus, 2005.
  • European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF)

    Definition: 

    Reference tool for describing and comparing qualification levels in qualifications systems developed at national, international or sectoral levels.

    Comments: 
    • the EQF’s main components are a set of eight reference levels described in terms of learning outcomes (a combination of knowledge, skills and/or competences) and mechanisms and principles for voluntary cooperation;
    • the eight levels cover the entire span of qualifications from those recognising basic knowledge, skills and competences to those awarded at the highest level of academic, professional and vocational education and training;
    • EQF is a translation device for qualification systems.
    Source: 
    based on European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2008.
  • European quality assurance in vocational education and training (EQAVET)

    Definition: 

    Reference framework to help EU Member States and participating countries develop, improve, guide and assess the quality of their own vocational education and training systems.

    Comments: 

    the methodology proposed by the framework is based on:,

    • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
    • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle;
    • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results – some indicators are based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, based on European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2009(b).
  • evaluation of education and training

    Definition: 

    Judgment on the value of an intervention, training programme or policy with reference to criteria and standards (such as its relevance or efficiency).

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2011.