The PARADIGMS project looked at the implementation of automatic recognition and recognition of experiences gained through new forms of learning.

Project overview

The project 'New Paradigms in Recognition' (PARADIGMS) was set up to contribute to more effective policies for the recognition of foreign qualifications in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

It focused on exploring 2 important new developments:

  1. The implementation of automatic recognition;
  2. The recognition of experiences gained through new forms of learning (e.g. MOOCs and eclectic programmes), or through employment (either work experience or professional certification).

The project ran from 1 March 2016 to 28 February 2018. PARADIGMS was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Consortium members

The PARADIGMS consortium is composed of the President of the ENIC Bureau, the Vice-President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee and the following ENIC-NARIC representatives:

  • NARIC France
  • NARIC Denmark
  • NARIC Lithuania
  • NARIC Norway
  • NARIC Portugal
  • NARIC Ireland
  • NARIC Slovenia
  • NARIC Flanders
  • NARIC The Netherlands


Automatic recognition

PARADIGMS explored current automatic recognition systems in the EHEA and developed and tested guidelines for the ENIC-NARIC centres to support and apply automatic recognition in their national setting.

The implementation of automatic recognition by 2020 is a priority set by the Ministers of Education in the EHEA in the 2015 Yerevan Communiqué. Automatic recognition is expected to contribute substantially to learning mobility in the EHEA and the EU as it supports smooth, consistent and fair recognition procedures.

Since 2015 there have been various initiatives to develop automatic recognition:

  • The Pathfinder Group on Automatic Recognition was the first to explore the concept.
  • Between 2015 and 2017 the Erasmus+ KA3 project ‘Focus on Automatic Institutional Recognition’ (FAIR) supported the implementation of elements of automatic recognition at higher education institutions in Europe.
  • Several intergovernmental agreements on automatic recognition have been established in, for example the Baltic, Nordic and Benelux regions.

A short path to automatic recognition - 4 models‌ (962.9 kB)

New forms of learning

PARADIGMS formulates recommendations to assess alternative learning experiences, with a special focus on:

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs)
  • In-company training programmes

Over the last few years, new forms of learning have been mushrooming. With people changing jobs more frequently than ever, they gain experiences and professional certifications at various workplaces. These alternative learning experiences are not captured by the current recognition practice that focuses on formal qualifications.

By evaluating alternative learning experiences we can determine more accurately if a person will succeed in the goal for which recognition is sought, which is the main principle of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

Oops a MOOC!‌ (329.5 kB)

More information

For more information about PARADIGMS, please contact the project coordinators, Ms Jenneke Lokhoff, Ms Katrien Bardoel and Mr Bas Wegewijs, by filling in the contact form or calling +31 (0)70 - 426 02 60.

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