The project looks at European and national policy initiatives promoting transparency and transferability of learning outcomes of the past two decades (2000-20) to examine how they have supported individual citizens’ lifelong and life-wide learning. Over a period of 3 years (2021-25), the project will analyse how the diverse initiatives have increased flexibility, allowing individuals to enter, re-enter and combine education, training and learning according to their specific needs and circumstances. Potential future polices choices and their implications will also be explored through a scenario approach.

Observing the forest, not just the trees

While numerous initiatives have been taken at national and European levels to support the transparency and transferability of learning outcomes, their overall impact on individual mobility and progression remains unclear. By applying a comprehensive approach, and by mapping relevant policy initiatives in education and training as well as employment, the study will provide insights into the sustainability and impact of European and national initiatives, and direct input into future policy at European and national levels.

Focus on individual progression in lifelong and life-wide learning

Citizens must be able to enter end re-enter education, training and learning throughout their lives, as their needs and circumstances change and evolve. However, existing systems and institutions frequently create barriers directly preventing this progression:

  • learning outcomes acquired outside formal education and training institutions are less visible and not fully trusted and valued. Given their importance, this lack of trust directly affects the ability of individuals to pursue lifelong and life-wide learning;
  • education, training and learning systems are becoming increasingly diverse and complex; this makes it difficult for individuals to remain informed and take ownership of their lifelong and life-wide learning progression, and for employers to make the best possible use of available education, training and learning resources;
  • diverse education and training systems with weak interconnections limit the possibility of transferring (and accumulating) learning outcomes across institutional, sector or national borders.

The project analyses the extent to which policy initiatives at European and national levels over the past two decades have been able to reduce these (and other) barriers to progression in lifelong and life-wide learning. It pays particular attention to the interaction and interrelationship between national and European policies and initiatives.

The project is divided into four themes/work assignments.

Work assignment 1 – European-level policies supporting transparency and transferability of learning outcomes: sustainability and impact
Mapping European-level polices and initiatives across different sectors, analysing connections and synergies, as well as overlaps and differences between them.
Work assignment 2 – National policies supporting transparency and transferability of learning: sustainability and impact
Providing an overview of national policy initiatives on transparency and transferability of learning outcomes in the EU- 27, Iceland, Norway and the UK, as well as in-depth analysis of eight countries, describing the relationship and synergies of policies at national level.
Work assignment 3 – Lifelong learning in 2000 and in 2020: what has changed for the individual citizen?
The impact of policies on individual citizens: what has changed in making it possible for individual learners – including employees – to enter, re-enter and combine education, training and learning, over time and across different institutions, sectors and countries.
Work assignment 4 – Scenarios for lifelong and life-wide learning: policy options and implications
Development of a set of policy scenarios towards 2040 illustrating alternative policy choices and their implications at European and national levels.

The study will build on Cedefop’s extensive involvement in developing and implementing European tools and principles for education and training


Several events will be organised to allow policy-makers and practitioners to exchange experiences. A first workshop to discuss initial findings took place on 29th November 2022. The next workshop is foreseen for 27th February 2024.