The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology announced today that “Competency Catalyst”—a joint project proposal from the University System of Georgia, BrightHive Inc., and Credential Engine to pilot an automated approach to the mapping and linking of competencies to instructional content—was chosen as a winning proposal as part of the Department’s Reimagining Higher Education
Ecosystem Challenge.

The project’s primary goal is to rapidly accelerate the availability and use of openly licensed, structured and connected educational competency data available on the web, supported by a set of open source tools and algorithms for aiding in translation of competency statements between competency models. By utilizing AI technologies, open data, open education resources, and the common credentialing language of the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), this pilot project aims to create the infrastructure and resources educators need to align their curriculum within and across programs and institutions, counselors to recommend personalized learning pathways, and credential-issuing organizations to stay in sync with local labor market demands.

“The credentialing marketplace is large and dynamically changing, which requires all credential providers to be more transparent about the competencies supporting their credentials. The Competency Catalyst project will help us learn how advanced technologies could help educators be more explicit about these connections,” said Scott Cheney, Executive Director of Credential Engine.

“We imagine a more connected, open, and individual-centered data ecosystem that more equitably and effectively empowers learners and workers to acquire new credentials and skills and navigate career transitions,” said Matt Gee, Chief Executive Officer at BrightHive. “Through the Competency Catalyst project, educators will have the information necessary to support learners in bridging to these future labor market opportunities.”

“This is one of the first steps towards mapping and coding our Academic Genome and digitally connecting competencies across the Academic Value Chain.  Just like loading a test bank into an LMS, faculty will now be able to load competency-connected content into adaptive systems saving them countless hours of manual linking work,” said Myk Garn, Assistant Vice Chancellor for New Learning Models with the University System of Georgia.

Over 160 proposals from across the country were considered for this prestigious Challenge, which sought imaginative solutions and innovative projects that would transform higher education and adapt to the new economies of the 21st century. The “Competency Catalyst” was chosen as one of the ten winning proposals to receive, “a customized set of support from the Department and its partners in the public and private sectors” to further develop this work.

The “Competency Catalyst” project will be the first of its kind to attempt this type of technology and system mapping work for competencies, and the partners look forward to exploring further use cases for a transparent marketplace of competency data.



Credential Engine is a non-profit whose mission is to create credential transparency, reveal the credential marketplace, increase credential literacy, and empower everyone to make more informed decisions about credentials and their value. Credential Engine is also supported by Lumina Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Walmart Giving, Northrop Grumman Foundation, and Microsoft.

Credential Engine Contact:

BrightHive is a data collaborative company that helps organizations, networks, & communities securely and responsibly link their data to enhance their impact, empower individual and collective decision making, & increase equality of opportunity.

BrightHive Contact:

The University System of Georgia (USG) is composed of 26 higher education institutions including four research universities, four comprehensive universities, nine state universities and nine state colleges. It also includes the Georgia Public Library Service, which encompasses approximately 389 facilities within the 61 library systems throughout the State of Georgia. Additionally, the USG includes the Georgia Archives which identifies, collects, manages, preserves and provides access to records and information about Georgia.

Georgia is one of only three states with two or more institutions in the U.S. News 2018 Top 20 Public National Universities. Georgia Tech is ranked No. 7 on the list and the University of Georgia in a tie at No. 16. The University System of Georgia enrolled 325,203 students for Fall 2017.

USG Contact:

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