The role of education in the world of work: Fostering learning organisations

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In this period of transition from a knowledge society to a learning society, the concept of learning becomes more comprehensive, extrapolating beyond the restricted field of education. Consequently, the development of competences combines and attributes the same value to formal, non-formal and informal learning. Lifelong learning is a necessity, aiming at the full development of the individual’s learning potential. The validation of prior learning is, therefore, fundamental for a greater visibility and valuation of this human capital. In fact, individuals will need to be re-qualified throughout their working lives and, given that the adult education offer represents a niche that does not seem to understand the requalification and continuous improvement of the workforce, the VPL – Validation of Prior Learning – approach could be an important pillar of lifelong learning strategies. The authors focus on the following problem: To what extent can a VPL approach, supported by principles of educational sciences, help to improve the quality of Portuguese SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises)? We present the structural data obtained through the analysis of official documentary sources on on-the-job training and through exploratory interviews with key informants. We found that the training processes presented value learning in the workplace. However, the definition of a training assessment methodology focused on the development of individual competencies, as well as the combination of non-formal and informal learning moments, seem to be lacking. As a result, the integration of the VPL approach may prove to be advantageous.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Siberian Federal University - Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Informal learning
  • Non-formal learning
  • On-the-job training
  • SMEs
  • VPL approach


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