Overview of non-formal education

What is non-formal learning?

During all your live we learn in formal (like school, university), non-formal (courses, sports club) and informal (from parents and friends) settings. But what does this mean? What is behind this terms? Below we present definitions of formal, non-formal and informal learning, based on Prof. Lynne Chisholm's expereinces in the youth field:

Formal learning
...is purposive learning that takes place in a distinct and institutionalised environment specifically designed for teaching/training and learning, which is staffed by learning facilitators who are specifically qualified for the sector, level and subject concerned and which usually serves a specified category of learners (defined by age, level and specialism). Learning aims are almost always externally set, learning progress is usually monitored and assessed, and learning outcomes are usually recognised by certificates or diplomas. Much formal learning provision is compulsory (school education).

Non formal learning
... is purposive but voluntary learning that takes place in a diverse range of environments and situations for which teaching/training and learning is not necessarily their sole or main activity. These environments and situations may be temporarly, and the activities or courses that take place may be staffed by professional learning facilitators (such as youth trainers) or by volunteers (such as youth leaders). The activities and courses are planned, but are seldomly structured by conventional rhythms or curriculum subjects. They usually address specific target groups, but rarely document or assess learning outcomes or achievements in conventionally visible ways.

Informal learning
From the learner's standpoint at least, this is non-purposive learning which takes place in everyday life contexts in the family, at work, during leisure and in the community. It does have outcomes, but these are seldomly recorded, virtually never certified and are typically neither immediately visible for the learner nor do they count in themselves for education, training or employment purposes.


What activities do we offer?

The ICRP carries out international projects among which Erasmus+ Programme offers  wide range of activities designed for non-formal learning. Erasmus+ has opportunities for people of all ages, helping them develop and share knowledge and experience at institutions and organisations in different countries.

Networking and Training
Erasmus+ supports the professional development of youth workers through training or networking periods abroad. Periods abroad can consist of training courses, study visits, job shadowing or observation periods at relevant organisations and more. Youth workers' mobility must last a between 2 days and 2 months. To go abroad with Erasmus+ as a youth worker, your organisation must be part of a youth mobility project with another institution or organisation.

Adult Education
Erasmus+ supports training assignments at adult education organisations abroad. These opportunities can consist of structured courses, training periods abroad, job shadowing or observation periods at schools or other relevant organisations. Examples of such organisations include adult learning centres, higher education institutions, public bodies, research institutes and organisations providing courses and training. A training assignment must last a minimum of 2 days and cannot last more than 2 months. Adult education staff mobility is framed within the European Development Plan of the sending organisations aimed at modernising and internationalising their mission. The mobility project must set out your professional development goals as a member of staff and make sure that what you learn is both properly recognised and shared throughout your institution.

Youth Exchanges
Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together and work on shared projects for short periods. Youth exchanges take place outside the school environment. On a youth exchange, you can expect to participate in activities such as workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, outdoor activities and more. Participants' learning experiences are recognised through a Youthpass. Youth exchanges last between 5 and 21 days. Youth exchanges are open to people between the ages of 13 and 30. To be a group leader in a youth exchange, you must be at least 18 years-old. Youth exchanges are managed by youth organisations, informal groups of young people or other organisations.


For more information about Erasmus+: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/node_en