Vocational Training Reform in France: creating a mobile PTA application

What are the main issues of the French training reform? Reflections with EPALE France thematic experts




Access to training courses eligible for the Personal Training Account (PTA) on the public website is disconcertingly complex for those who wish to take advantage of their right to training. Giving different access to training courses according to status, region or the employer's sector of activity has considerably curbed the dynamics of the PTA.

In the guidance document handed to the social partners at the end of 2017, this brake on the PTA is seen as a problem which must be dealt with. With this measure, the Government is proposing its response: "(…) the system of eligibility for PTA through lists has restricted the possibility of access to training courses and adds a further level of complexity to a system which is already difficult to decipher. () the opportunities to use it must become simple and transparent. To this end, the Government will make a digital application available to all employees and job seekers".

Paradoxical though it may seem, only the best-qualified publics, or those with support from a third party (an integration structure, careers adviser, training organisation, employer, etc), are able to create a PTA or for some, to record the hours spent on the creation of the DIF (Individual's Right to Training). The Government has therefore reaffirmed its desire to see all individuals (employees and job-seekers), as stakeholders in their own development, in particular in taking up their rights, alone and on their own initiative.

 Food for thought

The Acts of 2014 and 2016, with their attendant decrees, are based on two major principles shared by all the stakeholders in vocational training: equality and innovation. All recent reports and studies show that our training systems, which at present are still based on the Act of 1971, benefit the best-qualified adults (preferably those working in large enterprises, and mainly in urban areas). What is more, the principal, not to say the only, training method, remains the training course (a unit of time, place and action) which has to be prescribed.

Our mobile phones, or ordiphones, will be used not only to confer the right to training, but also to access Mobil Learning [1] itself integrated into Digital Learning or, in French, Formation Multimodale [2]. It is a major step forward in the accountability of each of us to develop a new relationship in our ability to learn throughout our lives, in the complementary dynamic of employability, mobility and culture (professional, social and personal).

Points to watch

This new responsibility requires several skills. Paradoxically, according to our report on digital technology, this mobile application can be a lever or a brake in taking up our rights to self-train.  Without strengthening [3] the existing, but often fragile networks, stakeholders on the ground [4] who provide help to everyone in mastering 'digital literacy'[5], it will prove difficult, especially for the less well qualified publics [6], the reform's priority, to enter by this mobile and digital gateway. Even among the Y or Z generations, there are adults with a poor digital culture (beginners), and/or a superficial digital practice(followers). At the end of the training course, our ordiphone would - debatably - also give us the possibility of grading the beneficiary to install a degree of transparency on this training market, for example about his integration level. Like a restaurant or an hotel, the training course could become, in part, an act of consumption with its benefits and possible sidesteps.

These publics, without help and support, will not be able to take advantage of the future on-line PTA application On the other hand, the tech-savvy and regular users can not only benefit quickly from this new concept, but can also work towards the development of innovative, multimodal training courses, falling between the metric and the digital areas; what the Minister has entitled Digital Learning, and the legislators have named, in Labour Law and its associated decrees: FOAD (ODL - Open Distance Learning)

This fertile pedagogical innovation (ODL training course, with/without ordiphone, with/without teletraining platform, with/without tutorials, with/without workplace learning, or even with/without the Virtual Classroom, with/without MOOC or COOC, with/without Serious Game, with/without Third Places, etc - but always with support and a fair and adequate use of IT) cannot, must not, be accessible only to adults doubly well qualified; in IT and other areas of expertise, In this paradoxical problem, the CléA [7] device, in terms of the uptake of the social partners and training stakeholders, throughout the French regions, may simultaneously become a solution and a target.





Frank SAVANN is an EPALE France thematic expert and training consultant.





Jean Vanderspelden is an EPALE thematic expert and Learning and ODL consultant.



 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[1] See THOT article by Denis Cristol, published in March 2018: Mobile learning already has a history; or self-training among ourselves, all the time" via

[2] Multi-modal training = ODL = Digital Training = Digital Learning

[3] See the Government's National Strategy for Inclusive IT programme its four sections: • How can we reach the target audiences in a national strategy for IT inclusivity? • How can we raise awareness of IT inclusivity? • What are the diagnostic tools for IT skills? • Toward which supports should we direct the public?

[4] Places for mediation, or Third Places: App, library, Cyberbase, EPN (public on-line centre), co-working or co-learning space, Fab Lab, multi-media library, museum, etc

[5] Digital Literacy:

[6] The too-many poorly qualified adults, including the Digital Natives - see EPALE article published in June 2017: All Digital Natives soon? Really! via


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