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Making Learner and Worker Records More Meaningful, Relevant, and Actionable: The Value of the Credential Transparency Description Language

Together we’ve made a lot of progress toward ensuring that essential information about credentials, competencies, pathways, quality, outcomes, and connections to jobs and occupations is openly available on the web and is machine actionable.  

Key to this progress is the growing adoption and use of the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) schemas to describe credentials and competencies, and using the Credential Registry services to support Linked Open Data (LOD), making data more accessible and useful. Credential Engine’s open infrastructure for organizing credential and competency information improves efficiency in data collection, maintenance, organization, sharing, and access, making it possible to have a better handle on what’s available, identify which credentials meet quality standards, describe and reveal pathways, and embed competency (knowledge, skills, and abilities) information into learners’ and workers’ digital records.

Individual Learner and Worker Records

Now, progress is being made to help people have more control over their learning records through issuing credentials digitally. These digital achievements may be known as Interoperable Learning Records (ILRs), Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs), or otherwise, and include Open Badges. The design and format of the CTDL data are compatible with ILR/CLR specifications (see Credential Engine’s Guidance), including the IMS Global Comprehensive Learner Record, Open Badges, and the T3 Innovation Network sponsored ILR Wrapper and Learner Wallet Specification. Beyond being compatible, the CTDL and Registry improve and expand the often limited information available for a learner or worker record. It is important to ensure that achievement information goes from paper to digital in ways that enhance the information to be more beneficial to learners, workers, employers, and education providers.

Opportunity to Make Records More Powerful

The Federal Government is starting to actively seek information about credentials and competencies (in addition to other information) to be published using “open schema” and “linked data” in formats aligned with ILRs. For example, two grant opportunities from the U.S. Department of Education — Reimaging K-12 and Reimaging Workforce — through the CARES Act reference use of open schema and linked data formats.

How Credential Engine Can Help You

Credential Engine is a non profit working to create greater transparency around credentials. Credential Engine is partnering with a growing number of states and providers to ensure that applications and systems, including learner/worker records, are designed and implemented using the CTDL, so that credential, competency, and related information included in learning records is meaningful, comparable, and machine actionable. Credential Engine provides technologies that include publishing tools to convert, store, and provide information as linked data, making it easier to meet this goal.  

Emerging federal, AACRAO, T3 Innovation Network, and other guidelines to use Linked Open Data and open schema are actionable and strengthened through use of the CTDL and the Credential Registry. The CTDL fulfills the ILR specifications outlined in these projects as well as the new federal grants. Today, we have the opportunity to make credential and competency information, along with every learning achievement, relevant and applicable as individuals chart their education and career pathways.

To learn more about publishing your credentials and competencies to the Credential Registry for inclusion in learner/worker records, see the “Registry Overview,” see our webinar presentationrefer to the technical guidance, or contact us at info@credentialengine.org.

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