The Parliament has agreed that modular education will be the main approach in adult education in Norway. The decision follows the Completion Reform, whose main aim was to get more young people and adults to acquire a study certificate or professional competence.  

The goal of the modular approach is to tailor education better to the needs of adults. The competence to be acquired should be the deciding factor in how the training is organised. It is important that training be based on the individual’s competences, and that it can be completed quickly, enabling participants to progress to further education or enter the labour market.  

Modular education for adults has been divided into three coherent pilots, which started in 2017 and will end in 2023:  

  • preparatory adult education – a pilot with newly developed module-structured curricula, which cover both learning subjects and languages, at the level below upper secondary education (EQF 4). The curricula are adapted for adults;  
  • modular vocational education and training – a pilot with module-structured curricula in selected subjects of the third year of upper secondary education (EQF 4), testing a more flexible path to a trade or journeyman’s certificate for adults. The target group is adults aged 25 and above who have completed primary education. The training is primarily carried out in companies. Once participants have completed all the modules, they can register for the qualification exam;  
  • the combination pilot merges both approaches above. Based on prior learning assessment, participants will combine training in subjects that are missing from their primary education level, while receiving vocational training in a company. 

The objective of the pilots is to test flexible, efficient, and tailored training courses for adults. In cooperation with participants, the training provider designs an individual course based on the individual's competences, prerequisites, and needs. The pilots coordinate training offers at different education levels. The modular training in the pilots is equivalent to traditional training. 

Modular training should be available in different areas, such as introductory programme for refugees and immigrants, labour market measures, company training programmes and in schools. 

The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills and the Directorate for Education and Training will cooperate on a further plan for modular education, beyond the pilots. After a dialogue with the social partners, the directorates will submit a plan to the Ministry of Education and Research for final approval. The directorates will assess and recommend more subjects for modular education at a later stage, and will also assess whether it would be practical to modulate subjects in study preparation programmes.

Read more (in Norwegian)  


Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Norway; Cedefop (2022). Norway: modular education for adults. National news on VET