27th August 2015
Location / Country / Region
Oscar is a portfolio method that edits competence documents (on paper and digital) that can be awarded by socio-cultural organisations to the participants in these activities. The aim is to document learning experiences that have been acquired in non–formal and informal learning environments.
Different sectors are involved in the Oscar project:
- Socio-cultural adult work (Socius vzw) – Youth work (Ambrassade)
- Cultural heritage (Faro)
- Amateur arts (Formum voor Amauteurskunsten)
- Municipal youth services (Vereniging Vlaamse Jeugddiensten) – Student councils (Vlaamse Scholierenkoepel)
- The Flemish Community: the agency Culture-Youth-Sport-Media and the Minister of culture.
Oscar provides competence documents for the general public. Socio-cultural organisations can make use of Oscar for certain target groups or for learning experiences that are difficult to explicate. Oscar wants to articulate the competences in a language which can be understood and used by the recipient of the competence document.
Preparatory phase (2003–2008): Different sectors developed a common vision on the policy concerning the recognition of competences acquired in spare time, non-formal education, informal education and voluntary work. In association with socio-cultural organisations the decision was made to develop a portfolio method.
Phase I (2008-2010): In February 2010 the portfolio instrument ‘Oscar’ was created, tested and launched. All this was based on a subsidy of € 300 000.
Phase II (2010-2011): A project funding was received for the development of a wider framework for formulating and describing competences and the communication strategy was outlined.
Phase III (2013–2014): Operating funds were granted for the further development of Oscar within the cultural sector.
Relevant links, websites, etc.
Links with the European Framework
Oscar was stimulated by foreign examples as the youth portfolio in Finland and a digital portfolio in the Czech Republic. Several foreign organisations/institutions, for example the folk high school of Vienna, showed interest in Oscar. Budgetary restrictions forces Oscar to keep the focus on Flanders.
Recommendation of the European Commission (2012)
The European Commission has launched a new initiative to stimulate the recognition of competences which have been acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments. The Commission formulates a recommendation to the member States to develop a system to validate non-formal and informal learning. The European Commission wants to make these competences visible so that they can be used in the labour market.
Links with national / regional priorities
The policies on the European and Flemish levels focus more and more on the integration of competences which have been acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments in the EVC-policy. It is essential in the EVC-story to recognise these competences and to make them visible.
Strategy document – Schauvliege
For the Minister of Culture the recognition and appreciation of competences is an important pillar. The recognition of competences which have been acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments has to be facilitated.
Reflection document ‘Naar een geïntegreerd EVC–beleid’
This reflection document (2012) wants to start up a reflection about a coherent policy between different sectors (labour, education, culture, youth and sport) about the recognition of competences. The document refers explicitly to Oscar and mentions three phases in the EVC-process: the recognition, the evaluation and the validation.
Strategy document (2014) – Gatz
This Strategy document refers to the visibility of competences which have been acquired in the cultural field. People need to be more aware of what they have learned and they need to be able to recognise these competences.
1. Detailed description
Oscar is a portfolio method that edits competence documents (on paper and digitally) that can be awarded by socio-cultural organisations to the participants in these activities. The aim is to document learning experiences which have been acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments.
Oscar makes competences more visible both for the organisation/institution and the participant. On one hand it is interesting for the organisation to see what influence their activities have on the participants and what competences the organisation offers to the public and the civil society.
On the other hand it offers the participants a document with the competences they have acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments. Oscar is a method to archive competences and competence documents in a personal (digital) portfolio. It can form the base for a learning biography.
At the moment 18 233 persons received a competence document, 4 345 of them are registered online. In total 26 376 competence documents have been provided.
The involved organisations (Socius, Faro and Forum for Amateur Arts) addressed the minister of Culture for operating funds. This request for funds has 4 purposes. First, a further development of the policy on EVC-procedures is needed. Secondly, funds are needed for prospection and the introduction of new sectors in the culture policy. Thirdly, funds are needed for the implementation of the communication and of the promotion plan. Finally, funds are needed to update the software.
The system, the way of formulating, describing and documenting competences adapts to the character of the learning experience and not vice-versa.
The focus is on the participants who are stimulated by the visualisation of their competences to use their competences more consciously in the future. They learn to distinguish the value of their own learning process, which leads to more awareness of their own skills and attitudes.
The manner in which organisations and participants reflect about their competences and the value of their learning in non-formal contexts can often lead to a more open and complete view on learning
Key success factors
The key success factors of the project are:
- The connection with the European and Flemish policy,
- The innovativeness of the project in the EVC-policy,
- The possible growth of Oscar within the cultural sector (libraries, community centres, cultural centres), but also within other sectors. Branching out to other sectors is difficult because of the lack of funds in this sector to invest in other sectors. However, these sectors are very interested.
Contributions to LLL Policy
The European Commission has launched a new initiative to stimulate the recognition of competences which have been acquired in non-formal and informal learning environments. The Commission formulates a recommendation to the member states to develop a system to validate non-formal and informal learning. The European Commission wants to make these competences visible so that they can be used in the labour market.
What could be adapted to other projects?
The concept of Oscar, namely the visualisation and archiving of competences is applicable in other countries. A software program needs to be developed and organisations that want to participate in the project have to be found.
3. Lessons Learnt
Regarding the building of a shared definition of LLL in LLL-Hub
In the context of lifelong learning it is important to make this process visible. Competences which have been acquired in non-formal or informal learning environments need to be made explicit and have to be documented.
Regarding the key actors, their roles and activities in LLL
The learner plays a central role in the process of documenting competences