Training affects learning activities such as qualifications in adult education, workshops in operation, courses in folk high school or individual exercises

Training is always and everywhere possible. Different goals, values, and conditions are the learning processes. To distinguish and to systematize could take several aspects: It can be differentiated according to the content, method, duration or other conditions of learning. For statistical purposes, and to prepare recommendations and decisions of educational policy is preferred by the authorities and bodies of the European Union, the distinction between opportunity and ways of learning. In a first step, learning to distinguish according to whether it is intentional or incidental. The intentional learning can be institutionally organized or self-designed. Finally, in a third step to determine whether learning in formal educational programs regulated by school, college or vocational training and education programs outside of the regulated area is not formally take place.

Learning activities in the terminology of the European Union

Precise definitions of the various learning activities especially for the analysis of statistical surveys such as the regular continuing education survey on participation by adults (Adult Education Survey, AES) is required in the European Union. Should be covered by this survey all forms of adult learning. These are based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), UNESCO, the formal, the non-formal and informal learning in more detail. As formal learning participation in educational programs of schools and universities as well as participation in vocational training considered. It can be connected to these institutions of the “initial education” nationally recognized qualifications to be purchased, such as graduation, masters or professional audit.


Non-formal learning includes all formal learning activities outside of the “initial education”, which should result in any areas to improve knowledge or skills. It may be in the non-formal learning by taking courses and seminars, but also to participate in short-term training events such as lectures, workshops, seminars or training sessions. Also included instruction or training in the workplace and private lessons are at leisure, such as language courses, cooking lessons or exercises.

As informal learning are conscious individual learning activities such as observation or practice, which are targeted to their knowledge or skills to be improved. Informal learning activities are not tied to an institution that lacks a clear structure and can be used during working hours and performed during leisure time alone or with others. Examples include the targeted use of radio and television or computer and Internet as well as participation in exhibitions and tours of farms or the goal-oriented reading of books and journals.

Overall results from the AES 2010

According to the AES 2010 in Germany more than 50% of 18 to 64-year-old population in the last 12 months before the 2010 survey conducted at least one learning activity throughout the training attended. This positive finding is reported on the other hand, that almost half of this population has therefore not taken advantage of the opportunities available for training. Adult participation in the formal study area was 13%, non-formal learning opportunities were perceived by 42% and 25% of the surveyed population exercised informal learning activities. Because of the overlap between these learning opportunities an addition of these individual rates, however, is inadmissible. From participation in formal learning opportunities to the initial two-thirds to about one-third degrees are made up, extended or supplemented.

Content is adult in learning the job training as the main form of vocational training in the foreground. In all the different areas shows that persons of foreign origin and are under-represented people with low educational attainment in participation rates, so they use their opportunities to compensate for deficits not fully informed. In international comparison, there are clear differences between the above-average education level of adult participation in northern and central Europe, and the below-average participation in South and South-Eastern Europe. Based on these results, it can be detected by a sophisticated content and intensity of action of each man and of the state and social organizations.AES was not asked in 2010, the empirically elusive participation in the incidental learning during activities of daily life both at work and at play. A survey is unnecessary, however, because they are not organized for incidental learning activity would be expected participation rate of 100%.