AACRAO is a long-standing leader in advancing the Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR). In 2015, The Lumina Foundation awarded AACRAO and NASPA (Association of Student Affairs Professionals) $1.7 million to pilot a project to develop models for a more comprehensive student record. After the pilot's success, Lumina awarded the two associations an additional $1.2 million grant in 2017 to continue their work on developing and adopting CLR in American higher education. Now, AACRAO is pursuing efforts to bring CLR to scale in higher education - a strategic initiative made possible by a $1.2 million grant awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the fall of 2021. The CLR seeks to capture, record, and communicate learning when and where it happens in a student’s higher education experience. This includes learning outcomes from courses, programs, and degrees and their experience outside the classroom that helps develop their career-ready skills and abilities.
As AACRAO pursues the renewed efforts in response to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, an associated community of practice is forming. AACRAO Communities of Practice are networks that may include AACRAO members, staff, and external partners to collectively address and advance knowledge and best practices around topics of strategic interest to the AACRAO community. The CLR Community of Practice serves as a network of knowledge leaders and develops resources to facilitate CLR adoption for all AACRAO members in this space.
An associated community of interest is supplemental to the community of practice. A community of interest consists of AACRAO members who are particularly interested in CLR but have not yet taken any steps towards CLR development within their institution. Through the community of interest, members can learn more about CLR, engage in peer learning activities, and take advantage of the resources and services developed through the community of practice.
AACRAO is well-positioned to continue leading these efforts as an association of registrar professionals. While institutions should have various stakeholders engaged in CLR exploration, implementation, and management, the Registrar must play a vital and necessary role to assure the expansion of the learner record and its expressions beyond the institution are valid, have integrity, and represent the learner. Additionally, as stewards of learning data, the Registrar defines and operationalizes the processes and practices to ensure compliance with Federal, State, institutional and academic policies while also providing the means and scale through which the curriculum is taught, recorded, and expressed on behalf of the learner for those outside the institution.
Moving from CLR to LER
As the CLR efforts continue through the AACRAO community, we encourage institutions to begin thinking more broadly about opportunities to capture all meaningful experiences that can showcase a learner's competencies. As CLR advancements continue, AACRAO is also interested in curating knowledge around LER, a Learning and Employment Record. A next generation of the CLR, the LER as an umbrella concept, has the potential to be more encompassing of a learner’s total experience. According to Jobs for the Future, an LER is “a comprehensive digital record of workers' skills and competencies. LERs can document learning wherever it occurs, and they may include records of people’s credentials, degrees, and employment histories.” Badge backpacks, learner wallets, and Comprehensive Learner Records are all examples of LER solutions.” (AACRAO 2021 Alternative Credentials Workgroup Report)
Get involved with the CLR Community
“Ultimately, AACRAO is working to ensure that what we create is an equitable ecosystem that is interoperable and holds a complete picture of the whole of the learning journey that is valuable in both personal and professional life of the learner.” -Melanie Gottlieb.
As AACRAO continues to pursue these efforts, we invite members to join our Communities of Practice/Interest to contribute to and stay up to date on these efforts. We also invite members to contact our team for more information about how AACRAO can provide consulting and other services to support your planning and implementation of CLR.