Technological innovations, globalization and a highly peripatetic workforce have created a need for universally recognized educational credentials. Moreover, the dynamic economic, political and social changes that innovations have brought about have made lifelong learning a paramount issue. While in the 1990s the learning focus was on vocational skills, in the twenty-first century lifelong learning has become a much more holistic experience. Learning competencies no longer refer to just occupational skills but also include personal growth, social and team interactions, management training as well as individual autonomy. While ICT is still an important component, the context is now much broader and includes socio-political, psychological and educational dimensions that recognize that individuals are not solitary beings but interact with society and organizations. This paper looks at some EU initiatives, especially the EQF and the LQF, the Latvian Qualifications Framework that is derived from the EQF. It also looks at some American initiatives where direct competencies assessment is currently in operation at about 5% of the higher education institutions. The author concludes that while important steps have been taken to create a universally recognized education assessment criteria for lifelong learning, these criteria at present do not have universal validity. Moreover, they are still too vocationally and business orientated. More needs to be done to develop cognitive learning abilities to build relevant interactions between theory and practice.