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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 7 January 2021
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  1. Arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning
  2. Information and guidance
  3. Quality assurance

Arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning

The validation or recognition of skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning is carried out, in practice, at the sub-national level, being the Autonomous Regions who make the calls (convocatorias) of the processes of validation or recognition. In any case, the whole process of recognition must conform to those set forth in Royal Decree 1224/2009,17th of July, of recognition of the professional skills acquired by work experience (Real Decreto 1224/2009, de 17 de julio). The procedure consists of three phases: advice, evaluation, and accreditation and registration [1]. The definition of the whole process, followed the opinion and advice of the General Council of Vocational Training (Consejo General de Formación Profesional)[2].

In the OECDNational Report On Recognition Of Non-Formal And Informal Learning In Spain (Informe Nacional de la OCDE relativo a España sobre Reconocimiento de aprendizajes no formales e informales), this validation of learning is included among the measures of innovation in social matters [3]. In Spain, the young population is considered a disadvantaged group in employment policies; for that reason, Organic Law 5/2002, 19th of June, on Qualifications And Vocational Training (Ley Orgánica 5/2002, de 19 de junio, de las Cualificaciones y de la Formación Profesional), in article 12 establishes that public Administrations, in particular local Administration, in the field of their respective competencies, shall adapt the training offerings to the specific needs of young people with academic failure. These offers "should encourage the acquisition of capacities in a lifelong learning process and, in addition to including modules associated with the National Catalogue Of Professional Qualifications (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales),  they may incorporate appropriate modules for the adaptation to specific needs of the target group ".

Also, the Royal Decree 562/2017, 2nd of June, regulating the conditions for obtaining graduate degrees in Compulsory Secondary Education And Baccalaureate (Real Decreto 562/2017, de 2 de junio), establishes that "it is up to the educational Administrations to establish the procedures for the recognition of the training of Spanish educational system that the students accredit and the valuation of the knowledge and previous experiences acquired through non-formal education, in order to proceed to their orientation and affiliation to a level determined within each of the fields of knowledge". Therefore, it is up to the Autonomous Communities to establish the equivalences of non-formal and informal education with the stages of the educational system, which allows young people who have experienced ELS to reintegrate into the system.

With regard to the development of specific programmes in the field of recognition of non-formal and informal learning in young people, there are initiatives such as the Recognize Project (Proyecto Reconoce) for recognizing competencies and skills, obtained through voluntary action that improve the employability of young people[4]. On the other hand, in February 2017, the Interterritorial Youth Council, formed by the Youth Institute (Instituto de la Juventud (INJUVE)) and the youth organizations of the Autonomous Communities, has agreed on the implementation of a specific recognition system for non-formal and informal learning in the sphere of Youth in Spain[5].


Information and guidance

The main source of information and guidance at the national level in everything related to VT and the validation of competencies (validación de competencias) is the portal TodoFP. It reports the phases of the process of validation, it provides access to the certification tool (Acredita), where the young person, through a guided process, is informed about which competencies are susceptible of accreditation as well as the qualifications that they could obtain, once the accreditation process has been completed, with only a series of suggested professional modules[6]. Also the Public Service of State Employment (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE)), offers information, guidance and orientation in the recognition of competencies, additionally  publicity of the procedures convened by the Autonomous Communities (publicidad de los procedimientos convocados por las CCAA).

The promotion of the validation of non-formal and informal learning is carried out by the Autonomous Regions that often publicise the opportunities and processes of accreditation through the websites of their respective departments of Education and Employment [7]. It is therefore at the regional and local level where we find some initiatives of promotion and publicity of the validation of non-formal and informal learning.


Quality assurance

The evaluation of the quality of the accreditation procedure of knowledge acquired by work experiences and non-formal or informal learning, is governed by the Royal Decree 1224/2009, 17th of July, for recognition of the professional competencies  acquired by work experience (Real Decreto 1224/2009, de 17 de julio, de reconocimiento de las competencias profesionales adquiridas por experiencia laboral), which makes quality the very beginning of the validation procedure. The first additional provision is devoted entirely to Quality Management, establishing that the competent administrations must be equipped with quality management systems to ensure that the objectives are achieved and that the purposes and principles established in the Royal Decree are fulfilled.

Article 30 of the Decree states that the General Administration of the State, in collaboration with the Autonomous Regions, and after consulting the General Council of Vocational Training (Consejo General de Formación Profesional), will develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan to check the quality, efficiency and impact of the accreditation procedure. This quality assessment includes a number of mechanisms aimed at ensuring transparency and conformity with the procedures established in the law[8].

[1] For more detail on the reality of recognition of non-formal and informal learning in Spain, see: Data report collected on the process of recognition of skills acquired by work experience (Programa Operativo de Empleo, Formación y Educación).

[2] Information on the Recognition of competences acquired through non-formal and informal channels in Spain can be found in the description relating to Spain in the Operational Program for Employment, Training and Education (Programa Operativo de Empleo, Formación y Educación).

[3] When determining the level of the educational system in which young people are assigned they are asked to recognise their non-formal and informal learning, not only do they take into account prior learning or the results of the tests of knowledge, but , through an interview, the personal circumstances of young people are also valued, which are considered for validation.

[4] The Recognition Project has the momentum (impulso) of the Institute of Youth (INJUVE).

[5] INJUVE, green lights the recognition of non-formal learning (INJUVE, luz verde al reconocimiento del aprendizaje no formal).

[6] See the Modular Catalogue of Professional Training.

[7] See the  Directory Website for accreditation of the Autonomous Communities.

[8] See point 5 in the Procedural Manual (Manual de Procedimiento).