The Drumbeat Grows Louder: CLR/LER is the Future of Academic Record Practices

November 28, 2022
  • Comprehensive Record
  • Alternative Credentials
  • clr
  • Comprehensive Learner Record
University marching band drum team on parade.

Earlier this month, AACRAO hosted a CLR/LER Community of Practice engagement event - bringing together several higher education professionals to examine the growing interest in advancing Comprehensive Learner Records, Learning and Employment Records, and microcredentials as the future of academic record practices. While the transcript has long been the record of a student’s achievements (and will continue as the primary academic credential), there is a multitude of organizations asking higher education to think beyond the transcript to more comprehensively capture all learning activity and experiences and to assert them more digitally and dynamically. 

Throughout this discussion, AACRAO leaders highlighted several organizations and initiatives engaged in efforts to drive CLR/LER adoption. This discussion brought to light the many external pressures that are driving this conversation and why higher education institutions need to consider how to capture and express student learning through these modern digital means.

Following are a sample of the organizations that were discussed and their respective efforts to advance the CLR/LER:

  • The National Governors Association Skills-Driven State Community of Practice “...will support states in preparing their employers, education and workforce systems, data systems and policies to design and implement digital wallet and LER projects as an equitable economic mobility tool.”

  • Jobs for the Future published a report titled Building a skills based talent marketplace, positioned as a “...market scan focus[ing] on a technology solution that enables this transformed talent marketplace: digital wallets where learners and workers can store and share the artifacts of their achievements and share their skills as they pursue opportunities for advancement.”

  • MIT has convened a Digital Credentials Consortium and recently published their Credentials to Employment: The Last Mile report, which “...attempts to map the space that exists between the promise of digital credentials that represent skills, competencies and abilities and their widespread adoption in employment-related use cases.”

These are just a few of the highlights from the discussion, which also showcased the increasing number of peer learning and professional development events focused on digital credentials and CLR/LER systems. Such events include The Badge Summit, hosted annually at CU Boulder, and 1EdTech’s Digital Credential Summit. AACRAO has also recently announced a new conference program to take place November 1-3, 2023. AACRAO has partnered with UPCEA to host a 2023 Conference to Examine the Emergent Field of Alternative Credentials in Higher Education. This partnership is in addition to other efforts AACRAO has pursued to advance the CLR/LER, such as founding a partnership with the Credential Futures Coalition, our engagement with the T3 Innovation Network, and our continuing work internationally with the Groningen Declaration Network.

It is clear to see that the drumbeat of digital credentialing that asserts various learner experiences is growing louder. AACRAO will continue to monitor the multitude of efforts in this space and record those within our CLR/LER landscape document as a tool for our members to advance these conversations among various campus stakeholders and to drive adoption within their institutions. AACRAO is also committed to supporting higher education in implementing CLR/LER/microcredentials and has added this as a service of our AACRAO Consulting team. We also intend to continue growing our CLR/LER Communities of Practice and Interest and to implement more peer learning and engagement opportunities as we move into the new year. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to join our CLR/LER Community and stay up to date on news and engagement opportunities.