DEFINITION 1: Learning which is embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support). Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view.
– non-formal learning outcomes may be validated and lead to certification;
– non-formal learning is sometimes described as semi-structured learning.
SOURCE: Terminology of European education and training policy- a selection of 100 key terms. CEDEFOP, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2008.
DEFINITION 2: Education that is institutionalized, intentional and planned by an education provider. The defining characteristic of non-formal education is that it is an addition, alternative and/or a complement to formal education within the process of the lifelong learning of individuals. It is often provided to guarantee the right of access to education for all. It caters for people of all ages, but does not necessarily apply a continuous pathway-structure; it may be short in duration and/or low intensity, and it is typically provided in the form of short courses, workshops or seminars. Non-formal education mostly leads to qualifications that are not recognized as formal qualifications by the relevant national educational authorities or to no qualifications at all. Non-formal education can cover programmes contributing to adult and youth literacy and education for out-of-school children, as well as programmes on life skills, work skills, and social or cultural development.
SOURCE: UIS glossary, UIS-UNESCO.
RELATED TERMS: learning, formal learning, informal learning, recognition of prior learning