The description of qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes is one of the main elements of ECVET. However, not all qualifications are designed in this way, and units designed in different contexts can be quite different - for example, in terms of the range and complexity of learning, concepts and categories used for formulating learning outcomes and/or their purpose, function and target audience.
The nature of units of learning outcomes and the approach chosen for identifying them will, in general, depend on the specific qualifications system or context.
Depending on the starting point, it is possible to either:
- use existing units (or parts of units), adjusting where required.
- develop specific units for mobility - either common or unique units that meet the needs of participating partners.
Whatever the selected approach, it is important that units of learning outcomes are designed so that they can be:
- clearly understood by involved actors - such as learners, teachers and trainers (in the home and host institutions) and competent institutions with responsibility for validating and recognising learning outcomes achieved during a period of geographical mobility.
- achieved during mobility - for example, taking into account the existing knowledge, skills and competence of learners, the duration of the planned mobility and the learning opportunities able to be accessed in the host institution and country.
- assessed abroad - some learning outcomes may be easier to assess abroad than others and it is also important to take into account the language skills of individual learners.
- recognised when the learner returns to the home institution.
In this video, Kevin Dobie of Glasgow Kelvin College (Scotland), talks of his own Experiences of ECVET involving students from Scotland and Finland, referring specifically to a process in which common units and learning content were compared and agreed upon.