Launch of the Learning Evaluation and Recognition for the Next Generation (LEARN) Commission

June 24, 2024
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AACRAO Contact: Quintina Barnett Gallion
Associate Executive Director, Strategy and Planning 

Sova Contact: Lara Couturier, Ph.D.
Principal, Sova 

AACRAO and Sova announce the launch of the Learning Evaluation and Recognition for the Next Generation (LEARN) Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2024) –

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and Sova announce the launch of the Learning Evaluation and Recognition for the Next Generation (LEARN) Commission, a new national effort to recognize undergraduate learning and improve credit evaluation policies and practices.

Composed of practitioner leaders, accreditors, and research experts from across the country, the Commission will recommend national guidelines to practitioners for recognizing undergraduate learning in all its forms and applying learning to credentials, with the intent of advancing learning mobility

The Commission’s work comes at a pivotal time. To compete in a global economy, an increasing share of Americans are completing learning beyond a high school curriculum, moving effectively between high school, the workforce, college, and other training providers to access rigorous and relevant learning. However, as learners move across learning providers, recognition of their learning does not always move with them. For example, analysis by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that learners lose 43% of their credits when they transfer across postsecondary institutions. 

“In the 21st century, learners will continue accessing skills and training in expanded ways. It’s time for our practices in higher education to similarly expand and evolve,” says AACRAO Executive Director Melanie Gottlieb. “For instance, AACRAO research has found that less than 25% of institutions utilize available technology to share transcript data – making undergraduate credit evaluation an unnecessarily manual process that is time- and cost-intensive. In addition, 54% of institutions report that they do not recognize credit for prior learning awarded by another institution. Such outdated practices create undue barriers for today’s highly mobile learners.”

“These lost credits and missed opportunities to recognize relevant learning have a real cost to learners, to institutions, and to society more broadly,” says Lara Couturier, Principal at Sova. “Learners pay a high transfer penalty, wasting time and money as they extend their time to completion. For this reason, we continue to see inequitable attainment outcomes by income and by race and ethnicity.” Nationally, disparate attainment rates by race and ethnicity and income cost the U.S. economy $956 billion dollars annually. “Institutions also lose from a status quo that inhibits–rather than facilitates–learning mobility,” Couturier continues. “The LEARN Commission will provide practical guidance for how to modernize credit evaluation processes to ensure institutions are able to reach and serve this growing market of mobile learners.” 

The LEARN Commission will evaluate policies and practices for transferring and applying credit between accredited institutions, as well as policies and processes for recognizing credit earned from high school dual enrollment and learning obtained in the workplace and military. In these areas, the Commission will also assess the potential of new technologies to streamline credit evaluation processes, while eliminating human error and bias. “We are particularly interested in the Commission’s examination of the risks and benefits of emergent applications of artificial intelligence that may alleviate the time and cost associated with credit evaluation, thereby increasing efficiency, transparency, and equity for learners,” adds Gottlieb.  

The Commission will kick off in July 2024, and will convene virtually through November 2025, with facilitation and research support from Sova and AACRAO. A full list of Commissioners is provided below. 

As a leading voice in higher education, AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association working to make higher education more responsive to learners. Sova is a mission-driven strategy and implementation firm focused on helping higher education and workforce meet society’s changing needs.  

The work of the LEARN Commission is part of the Beyond Transfer initiative and is made possible with the generous support of the Ascendium Education Group. 

LEARN Commission Membership

  • Dr. Marjorie Dorimé-Williams, Sr. Research Associate, Postsecondary Policy, MDRC

  • Dr. Beth Doyle, Senior Vice President, Initiatives & Solutions, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) 

  • Dr. Malou C. Harrison, Provost and designee of President Madeline Pumariega, Miami Dade College

  • Ms. Emily Kittrell, Assistant Director, National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS)

  • Dr. Samuel Lee, Chief Ambassador of the California MAP Initiative and Interim Vice President, Norco College

  • Dr. Alexandra W. Logue, Professor Emerita, Center for Advanced Study of Education at CUNY Graduate Center

  • Dr. Alexei Matveev, Director of Training and Research, Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges

  • Ms. Cassandra Moore, Director of Enrollment Development & Admissions, Anne Arundel Community College

  • Ms. Sarah C. Muller, Assistant Registrar - Transfer Credit Center, Ohio State University

  • Dr. Hironao Okahana, AVP for Research, American Council on Education (ACE)

  • Dr. Heather F. Perfetti, President, Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

  • Ms. Julia Pomerenk, Registrar and Associate Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, University of Oregon

  • Dr. Carolyn Sherlet Gentle-Genitty, Dean of Founder's College, Butler University

  • Ms. Jamienne Studley, President, WASC Senior College and University Commission

  • Dr. Janie Valdés, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management & Services - FIU Connect4Success, Florida International University

For more information, please contact:

AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association working to make higher education more responsive to learners. With a membership of more than 15,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,300 institutions in more than 40 countries, the association provides advocacy, research, and policy-based guidance and training to higher education professionals to smooth the path for learners at every stage of their journey.