A credentialing infrastructure for the 21st Century

January 26, 2020
  • Comprehensive Record
  • Learner Attribute Matching Index
illustration of people assembling web page

According to a recent report, current learning records haven't evolved at the pace of modern learning. For example:

  • Records are fragmented across multiple institutions.
  • The student doesn't substantially "own" their own record.
  • Though it can be compiled and shared, that information is self-reported.
  • Most records  don’t provide the kind of information employers and educators need, such as skills and learning.

A modern, digital credentialing infrastructure can reduce this fragmentation, providing verified, shareable, comprehensive digital learning records with information on the skills mastered.

A new kind of record

Since 2015, AACRAO has been leading work to help institutions create and implement learning-focused student records.  This work has been supported by two grants from Lumina Foundation to develop models for these records and, more recently, to facilitate the broader implementation of Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs).  Our partnership with NASPA and NILOA has helped us better understand how to think about learning in both curricular and co-curricular spaces.  The work we have done with C-BEN has allowed us to better understand the growing movement of competency-based learning.

The efforts of AACRAO parallel other initiatives on learning and digital records. For example, the military is significantly upgrading its training records to provide richer detail on what soldiers and officers learn as part of their ongoing development. And the  business community is interested in these efforts as they align with talent identification and better understanding of what an applicant knows and can do. 

Keeping up with these rapid developments has been challenging but AACRAO continues to lead the way in the development of records in higher education.  We have joined and are active in the T3 Innovation Network, led by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, where all activities to coordinate data standards, frameworks, transmission networks, and more, are being coordinated.

Read the report

"Solutions to Build a 21st-Century Connected Credentialing System," the report from national think tank Third Way, identifies five policy needs related to this work and cites some of the important initiatives underway.  This may be a helpful resource for registrars and admissions officers as they prepare for a new data ecosystem that carries a much richer set of data.

    Parts of this article are adapted from "Solutions to Build a 21st Century Connected Credentialing System"