Université Multiculturelle Internationale

Determine and certify the knowledge of the autodidact.


Self-learning or autodidaxy is, as the word indicates, the activity of teaching or training oneself, autonomously. As old as the world, self-training or self-learning has nevertheless been in the last decades the subject of specific studies, with the creation of research groups on the matter, then the launching of European colloquia on self-learning (since Nantes 1995) and world meetings of self-learning (since the Montreal summit of 1997).

In this 21th century self-learning is everywhere. The mediatised image of a big industrial leader admired by everybody who is an autodidact proud of his primary school certificate is only the emerged part of the iceberg, which leads to forget that nowadays everyone is an autodidact, one for having used on his own a language methods by book and tape (or DVD), the other for having followed step by step the didacticware of a software. And self-learning is not a new phenomenom, it is at least as old as the first written books, meaning the first possibility to learn somebody else's experience without the intermediary of a preceptor or teacher.

If today self-learning gets more formal attention, it's for the conjunction of several factors:

  • the necessity to inventory and mobilise all knowledge present in an organisation ("knowledge management"), even when acquired outside through self-learning,

  • the preoccupation for knowing all the skills of a person, even in the domains where she is autodidact, in order to recognise her completeness, this recognition being a factor of satisfaction and motivation,

  • the need to elaborate competencies portfolios in order to build individualised paths of training taking into account the previous self-learning of the subjects (competencies management),

  • the possibilities offered by the development of new tools called multimedia, facilitating self-learning and sometimes multiplying the efficiency of more traditional supports.

Nevertheless self-learning is certainly not limited to the formal and methodic use of these learning tools. The person who has been subscribed for ten years to a psychology magazine, or the one who reassembled piece by piece his ventage collection car, did some self-learning without knowing it and is a self-ignored autodidact.

In France the preliminary debates relative to the vote of the law on social modernisation put in evidence a trend of thought favourable to the recognition of the fruits of individual study, but the text adopted was finally limited to experience (what one experimented himself, not what was learnt without experimenting it, for example by reading), and the experience over at least three years. Nevertheless, to take again the example of individual study of a foreign language through an audiovisual method (for instance), it is clear that self-learning may allow to acquire some competencies, even though they have not been applied, and even in less than three years.

The Université Multiculturelle Internationale intends to facilitate the recognition of this self-learning.

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