European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Learn by doing – non-formal education‬‬‬

The Story of Youthpass, part II (2012)

Education is part of everyone’s life, but it doesn’t all have to take place in the classroom. There are other ways to learn, often while you don't even realise you're doing it.

Traditional education is structured and formal – given by an institution (school, university) and leading to a qualification.


Informal learning is the opposite: stuff you learn unintentionally in your daily work, family or leisure activities.


Non-formal learning lies somewhere between these two extremes. It can be structured, with learning objectives – but usually happens outside formal institutions: in workshops, seminars, community courses, the workplace or even through sport.

It can be learning on your own initiative, or as a consequence of other activities.


Whatever form it takes, you can now get formal recognition for things you learn like this – through the Youthpass.


And in recent years, more organisations have started to realise that all learning is valuable, and to recognise both non-formal and informal learning as equivalent to formal learning.

OECD recognition of non-formal & informal learning

EU validation of non-formal & informal learning



Published: Mon, 11/03/2013 - 16:42

Related links

Info for young people in the western balkans

Need expert help or advice?

Ask us!