Lifelong Learning Platform | LLLP - European Civil Society for Education

Lexicon

Accreditation
Accreditation in the field of education means that quality assurance processes are applied to evaluate services and/or certificates provided by educational institutions or programmes to determine if given standards are met. If these standards are met, the agency in charge of the quality assurance process grants the accreditated status of the services used and/or certificates received by the respective educational institution or programme.
Active citizenship
Active citizenship in education refers to the idea that members of nation-states or other entities have certain roles and responsibilities to society and the environment, although those members may not have specific governing roles. In the context of the debate over rights versus responsibilities, it implies that people have certain responsibilities as subjects of the entity that also gives them rights. Active citizens can engage on several levels, e.g. the country or nation-state, the European Union (European citizenship), but also on a global level (global citizenship).
Adult education
Adult education refers to the idea that adults (older than 16 or 18 years) engage in learning activities to gain more knowledge and skills for their professional and personal lives. Adult education can be part of the formal education system, e.g. vocational education and training, or courses to acquire a Secondary School diploma. However, very often it refers to 'non-formal adult education' which encompasses all forms of structured learning activities outside of the formal education system, e.g. language or cooking classes. 'Informal adult education' includes all learning activities in adult lives that happen non-structured, e.g. visits to museums, community baking classes etc.
Adult learning
The term 'adult learning' is very often used synonymously with 'adult education'. The European Commission speaks rather about 'adult learning' than 'adult education', but refers to the concept of 'adult education'. According to the EU2020 benchmarks, 15% of adults aged 25-64 should be taking part in adult learning by 2020. 'Adult learning' can also refer to specific learning needs and methods of adults, based on the assumption that learning in adult life, i.e. information processing in the brain, works differently to learning at a younger age.
Basic skills
These are the skills needed to live in contemporary society, such as listening, speaking, reading, writing and mathematics.
Blended learning
Blended learning is a pedagogical model combining face-to-face classroom teaching and the innovative use of ICT. Experts often associate blended learning with the redesign of the educational environment and learning experience, thus contributing to the creation of a “community of inquiry”.
Bologna Process
The Bologna Process is the name given to the process of higher education reform in the greater European region (the reform movement is much broader than the 27 countries of the EU; there are currently 47 signatory countries). The Process is voluntary; there are no legal mandates that require countries to participate. It aims to facilitate the recognition of foreign academic degrees and qualifications; enable students and higher education graduates to move more easily from one country to another, increase the attractiveness of Europe as a place to study and/or work, and promote peace and stability in the region. By signing the Bologna Declaration, each country’s minister affirmed the nation’s intention to: adopt a system of easily readable and comparable degrees; adopt a system essentially based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate; establish a system of credits (e.g. ECTS); promote the mobility of students, teachers, researchers and administrative staff; promote European cooperation in quality assurance; promote the European dimensions in higher education, particularly regarding curricular development and inter-institutional cooperation.
Citizenship education
Citizenship education recognises the importance of active citizenship and learning about democratic values, as well as decision-making processes at the various political levels. In the past years, as a result of various European policy papers, citizenship education has been included in the national curricula in formal and non-formal education in many European countries. It has become a priority in European education policies (see Paris Declaration, ET2020 Priorities).
Civic dialogue
"Civic dialogue" refers to the specific dialogue, in a democracy, between civil society, public authorities and stakeholders on topics that concern society as a whole and the lives of individuals in particular; that they shall have "the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views". It aims to influence policies that may have an impact on all of these spheres of life and to provide solutions at the local, regional, national or transnational level. In the EU, it is provided for in Article 11 TEU.
Civic education
'Civic education' refers to all information and activities that affect people's political beliefs, ideas of the world, and actions as members of communities. Civic education can be part of curricula in formal and non-formal education, but is very often also transferred in informal ways, e.g. by newspapers, television, religions, discussion circles etc.
Digital competences
Digital competences involve confident and critical use of information society technology (ICT) in the general population and provide the necessary context (i.e. the knowledge, skills and attitudes) for working, living and learning in a knowledge society. Digital competences are defined as the ability to access digital media and ICT, to understand and critically evaluate different aspects of digital media and media contents and to communicate effectively in a variety of ICT influenced contexts.
Distance learning
Distance learning is a way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher in the classroom. It has considerably developed with the Internet, which has made courses available online (e-Training).
Diversity
In education, diversity aims to recognise, respect and value people’s differences to contribute and realise their full potential by promoting an inclusive culture for all staff and students.
E-learning
The term e-learning is a generic expression for all learning involving the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support both learning and teaching. Its meaning is normally synonymous with ICT-based learning. The term may refer to the use of various technologies and tools to support learning in different contexts, including face-to-face settings and distance learning, separately or in combination, in which case e-learning is usually called blended learning.
Early school leavers
Individuals below the statutory school-leaving age who left an education or training programme without completing it.
Education and Training 2020
Each EU country is responsible for its own education and training systems. EU policy is designed to support national action and help address common challenges, such as ageing societies, skills deficits in the workforce, technological developments and global competition. Education and training 2020 (ET 2020) is the framework for cooperation in education and training. ET 2020 is a forum for exchanges of best practices, mutual learning, gathering and dissemination of information and evidence of what works, as well as advice and support for policy reforms. In order to ensure the successful implementation of ET 2020, Working Groups composed of experts nominated by member countries and other key stakeholders work on common EU-level tools and policy guidance. Funding for policy support and innovative projects is available through Erasmus+ for activities that promote learning and education at all levels and for all age groups. In 2009, ET 2020 set four common EU objectives to address challenges in education and training systems by 2020: making lifelong learning and mobility a reality; improving the quality and efficiency of education and training; promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship; enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training. These priorities were redifined in 2015, emphasising on the social and civic role of education.
Employability
Employability is not the same as gaining a (graduate) job: it implies the capacity of the (graduate) person to function in a job, be able to move between jobs, and remain employable throughout life.
Entrepreneurship
A sense of initiative and entrepreneurship that refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. This supports individuals, not only in their everyday lives at home and in society, but also in the workplace in being aware of the context of their work and being able to seize opportunities, and is a foundation for more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing or contributing to social or commercial activity.
Erasmus+
The Erasmus+ Programme, established in 2014 (for the 01.01.2014-31.12.2020 period), is a European funding programme for education and training at all levels, in a lifelong learning perspective, including school education (Comenius), higher education (Erasmus), international higher education (Erasmus Mundus), vocational education and training (Leonardo da Vinci) and adult learning (Grundtvig); youth (Youth in Action), particularly in the context of non-formal and informal learning; and sport, in particular grassroots sport. The Programme includes an international dimension aimed at supporting the Union's external action, including its development objectives, through cooperation between the Union and partner countries (Regulation 1288/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing “Erasmus+: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport”, 11.12.2013).
EU fundamental values
The term "common values" refers to the fundamental values that ground the unity formed in Europe after the Second World War (see EU Treaties, European Convention for Human Rights). They were re-affirmed in the Paris Declaration on education from 2015: respect for human dignity, freedom (including freedom of expression), democracy, pluralism, tolerance, non-discrimination, equality between men and women, the rule of law and respect for human rights, tolerance, non-discrimination, equality between men and women...
EU2020
Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year jobs and growth strategy. It was launched in 2010 to create the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Five headline targets have been agreed for the EU to achieve by the end of 2020. These cover employment; research and development; climate/energy; education; social inclusion and poverty reduction.
European Memorandum on Lifelong Learning
The Commission presented this Memorandum in response to the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 and its conclusions concerning a Europe of knowledge, which have inevitable repercussions in the field of education and training. It is also a response to the mandate given by the Lisbon and Feira European Councils, i.e. to make lifelong learning available to everyone. The two objectives of equal importance for lifelong learning are the promotion of active citizenship and the promotion of vocational skills in order to adapt to the demands of the new knowledge-based society and to allow full participation in social and economic life.
European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) – a policy initiative to relate different countries' national qualifications systems to a common European reference framework. The levels of national qualifications will be placed at one of the central reference levels, ranging from basic (Level 1) to advanced (Level 8). For more information see http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/eqf_en.htm
European Social Fund
The ESF is Europe’s main tool for promoting employment and social inclusion – helping people get a job (or a better job), integrating disadvantaged people into society and ensuring fairer life opportunities for all. It does this by investing in Europe’s people and their skills – employed and jobless, young and old.
Formal education
Formal education is intentional, organised and structured. It leads to recognised diplomas and qualifications. It is usually provided in schools, colleges, universities and other formal educational institutions that normally constitute a continuous ‘ladder’ of full-time education for children and young people.
Fundamental rights
Fundamental rights are a generally regarded set of legal protections in the context of a legal system, where in such system is itself based upon this same set of basic, fundamental, or inalienable rights. These rights shall be guaranteed to all persons without presumption or cost of privilege. The concept of human rights has been promoted as a legal concept that transcends all jurisdiction, but are typically reinforced in different ways and with different emphasis within different legal systems. Fundamental rights are traditionally divided between the rights of first and second generation: the first are political and civil rights (such as freedom of thought, or the right to a fair trial); the second social and economic (such as the right to work), a distinction that reflects the historical events and political evolutions during the XXth Century. A third generation of rights has emerged. These are collective rights, such as a right to a clean environment, which reflect the ideas of international solidarity. "Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations" (Preamble of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights). In the European context, fundamental rights are now guaranteed in the EUCFR (Article 6 TEU), itself finding its inspiration in the ECHR and constitutional tradition of its Member States.
Gender equality
Gender equality means men and women should receive equal treatment and should not be discriminated against based on their gender.
Gender mainstreaming
Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities - policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.
Global education
Global education is an "education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the globalised world and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. Global education is understood to encompass development education, human rights education, education for sustainable development, education for peace and conflict prevention and intercultural education; being the global dimension of education for citizenship" (Maastricht Global Education Declaration, 2002).
Informal learning
Informal learning is never organised nor institutionalised in terms of objectives, time or learning support. From a learner standpoint, it is never intentional. It is often referred to as learning by experience or just as experience. It results from daily life activities related to work, family or leisure.
Intercultural education
Intergenerational learning
Key competences
Key competences are the basic set of knowledge, skills and attitudes which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment (as described in Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council).
Learning mobility
Today, the concept of “lifelong learning” (LLL) is widely used but its meaning differs according to whom is using it. According to the LLLPlatform, lifelong learning covers education and training across all ages and in all areas of life, be it formal, non-formal or informal. It shall enable citizen’s emancipation and full participation in society in its civic, social and economic dimensions. Its objective should not only be described in terms of employability or economic growth but also as a framework for personal development.
Life skills
UNICEF defines “life skills” as psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. They are grouped into three broad categories of skills: cognitive skills for analysing and using information, personal skills for developing personal agency and managing oneself, and inter-personal skills for communicating and interacting effectively with others. They are also often called transversal, transferable, soft and 21st century skills and competences.
Lifelong learning
Today, the concept of “lifelong learning” (LLL) is widely used but its meaning differs according to whom is using it. According to the LLLPlatform, lifelong learning covers education and training across all ages and in all areas of life be it formal, non-formal or informal. It shall enable citizen’s emancipation and full participation in society in its civic, social and economic dimensions. Its objective should not only be described in terms of employability or economic growth but also as a framework for personal development.
Literacy
Literacy is defined as the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts. It is essential in Western societies to participate in democratic processes, achieve one's goals and develop one’s knowledge and potential. It includes reading; it does not include writing. Adults at the lowest level can read relatively short texts to locate a single piece of information that is identical to that in the question or instruction, or understand basic vocabulary.
LLLAwards
Media literacy
Media literacy refers to the ability of people to access, understand, create and critically evaluate different types of media. With the rapid rise of digital technology and its increasing use in business, education and culture, it is important to ensure everyone can understand and engage with digital media. Media literacy should not be treated as an isolated or independent skill. It is a prerequisite for active citizenship and key to the full development of freedom of expression and to the right to information. Furthermore, it is vital for economic growth and job creation, since digital technologies are a key driver of competitiveness and innovation in the media, information, and communication technology sectors.
MOOCs
The acronym MOOCs refers to "Massive Open Online Courses". A massive open online course is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the internet. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures or readings, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions between learners and educators. MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education, which were first introduced in 2008 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.
National Qualifications Frameworks
National qualifications frameworks (NQF) describe what learners should know, understand and be able to do on the basis of a given qualification. These frameworks also show how learners can move from one qualification, or qualification level, to another within a system. Over 150 countries are now developing, or have developed, a national qualifications framework.
Non-formal education
Non-formal eduation is usually organised and can have learning objectives. It takes place alongside the mainstream systems of education and training and does not typically lead to formalised certificates. It concerns persons of all ages. It may be provided at the workplace and through the activities of civil society organisations and groups (youth organisations, popular education movements, unions, etc.).
Online learning
A form of educational delivery in which learning takes place primarily via the Internet. Online learning can serve those who are geographically distant and without access to traditional classroom education, so it includes “distance learning”. However, distance learners are not alone in benefiting from online learning, which is also commonly part of e-learning in mainly campus-based study programmes. In such cases, it may be referred to as blended learning.
Open Method of Coordination
The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the European Union may be described as a form of "soft" law: it is a form of intergovernmental policy-making that does not result in binding EU legislative measures and it does not require EU countries to introduce or amend their laws. The OMC, originally created in the 1990s as part of employment policy and the Luxembourg process, was defined as an instrument of the Lisbon strategy (2000). This was a time when EU economic integration was advancing quickly but EU countries were reticent to give more powers to the European institutions. The OMC has provided a new framework for cooperation between the EU countries, whose national policies can thus be directed towards certain common objectives. Under this intergovernmental method, the EU countries are evaluated by one another (peer pressure), with the Commission's role being limited to surveillance. The European Parliament and the Court of Justice play virtually no part in the OMC process. The OMC takes place in areas which fall within the competence of EU countries, such as employment, social protection, education, youth and vocational training. The OMC is principally based on: jointly identifying and defining objectives to be achieved (adopted by the Council); jointly established measuring instruments (statistics, indicators, guidelines); benchmarking, i.e. comparison of EU countries' performance and the exchange of best practices (monitored by the Commission).
Public-private partnerships
"Public-private partnerships in education may take many forms and arrangements, such as contractual arrangements with the private sector for public school infrastructure or school management, to operate public schools or manage certain aspects of public school operations. Public-private partnerships can also involve government purchases of education services delivered by private schools or private entities. Capacity-building initiatives, the training of public school teachers and curriculum enhancement programmes delivered by the private sector are other forms of public-private partnerships. Voucher systems, which provide government grants for students from low-income families to enrol in private schools, also amount to public-private partnerships. Another modality of public-private partnerships is the provision of cash and in-kind resources by private sector partners to complement government funding of public schools or “adopt a school” programmes." (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, United Nations, 26.08.2015). According to the United Nations Rapproteur on the right to education, "those partnerships are inextricably linked with privatization".
Qualifications
Qualification covers different aspects: 1. Formal qualification: the formal outcome (certificate, diploma or title) of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards and/or possesses the necessary competence to do a job in a specific area of work. A qualification confers official recognition of the value of learning outcomes in the labour market and in education and training. A qualification can be a legal entitlement to practice a trade (OECD); 2. Job requirements: knowledge, aptitudes and skills required to perform specific tasks attached to a particular work position (International Labour Organisation).
Quality assurance
Activities involving planning, implementation, evaluation, reporting, and quality improvement, implemented to ensure that education and training (content of programmes, curricula, assessment and validation of learning outcomes, etc.) meet the quality requirements expected by stakeholders.
Quality of education
According to the UNESCO, quality education means "the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that learning and teaching promote must reflect and respond to the needs and expectations of individuals, countries, the global population and the world of work today. Not only teaching basic skills like reading and math, but encouraging critical thinking and fostering the desire and capacity for lifelong learning that adapts and shifts in local, national and global dynamics."
Right to education
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, constitutive act of the United Nations: "1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. 2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. 3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."
Rights-based approach
A human rights based approach is about empowering people to know and claim their rights and increasing the ability and accountability of individuals and institutions who are responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights.
Social and civic competences
Social and civic competences include personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and cover all forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life, and particularly in increasingly diverse societies, and to resolve conflict where necessary. Civic competence equips individuals to fully participate in civic life, based on knowledge of social and political concepts and structures and a commitment to active and democratic participation.
Social cohesion
Social cohesion consists in the bonds that link members of a social group to one another and to the group as a whole. It can also be defined as "the belief held by citizens of a given nation-state that they share a moral community, which enables them to trust each other" (Larsen 2013). Although cohesion is a multi-faceted process, it can be broken down into four main components: social relations, task relations, perceived unity, and emotions. Social equity, by which members of a community benefit from equal access in certain matters, can be seen as one step to social cohesion.
Sustainable Development Goals
The sustainable Development Goals are a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. There are 17 Goals with 169 associated targets which are integrated and indivisible. Some of them include Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, etc.
Transversal competences
Transversal competences are the skills individuals have which are relevant to jobs and occupations other than the ones they currently have or have recently had. Albeit they have been acquired in a given context or to master a special situation/problem, they can be transferred to another context. They include digital skills, entrepreneurship or civic awareness. Indeed, transversal competences enable people to pursue learning throughout their lives, contribute to democratic societies and to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s world of work with its demand for high skills combined with creativity and the ability to innovate.
TTIP
The TTIP, or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the United States of America and the EU, justified as the key to boost our economy. It is one of many similar agreements being negotiated throughout the world, between the USA and other regions, and between the EU and other regions, such as the Canadian one.
Validation
Validation is a process of confirmation by an authorised body that an individual has acquired learning outcomes measured against a relevant standard and consists of the following four distinct phases: 1. Identification through dialogue of particular experiences of an individual; 2. Documentation to make visible the individual’s experiences; 3. A formal assessment of these experiences; 4. Certification of the results of the assessment which may lead to a partial or full qualification.