How 6 thriving institutions are leveraging alternative credentials for student success

As higher education evolves, so, too, do the paths to degrees. And attaining a degree often involves alternative credentials including MOOCs, micro-credentialing or badges, or non-credit certificate programs.

But as these options expand and evolve, higher-education institutions must meet the ever-present challenge of treating these experiential learning experiences as credit-bearing.

One question remains: How can institutions qualify alternative credentials as forms of knowledge and apply them to, or include them in, the curriculum for a quality degree program?…Read More

App revolutionizes digital credentials, wins higher ed industry award

Digital platform pioneer Credly, in partnership with Lumina Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the American Council on Education (ACE), announced today the winner of a special ideation challenge aimed at generating breakthrough ideas to help bridge the skills gap for education and industry association leaders.

The winning submission by Chicago-based architect Larry Kearns is a concept for a web-based recruiting ecosystem that matches candidates with potential employers based on a data-driven record of their perspectives and skills, verified by digital credentials.

The judging panel found that Kearns’ proposal for a skill matching application brought a unique perspective to connecting employers and employees and offered an innovative approach to learning pathway design and the role played by industry and trade associations.…Read More

Community colleges begin linking digital badges, ePortfolios and recruiting matches

Digital credential provider Credly and Portfolium, an ePortfolio platform that makes a student’s academic and co-curricular experience searchable by employers, announced a new partnership that enables learners to demonstrate evidence of their learning and competencies to potential employers.

The new integration allows Portfolium users to access and display digital badges earned through Credly in their ePortfolio, and enables employers to search and find candidates based on badges that match specific job opportunities and targeted skillsets.

“There are more students graduating with degrees or certificates than ever before, and yet 60 percent of employers claim these students aren’t graduating with the skills they need to fill their jobs,” said Adam Markowitz, CEO of Portfolium. “Portfolium is solving this problem by allowing employers to match their jobs to the proven skills within students’ portfolios via our employer recruiting platform, TalentMatch. This partnership with Credly will allow millions of Portfolium users to showcase verified achievements in the form of digital credentials alongside examples of their best work, helping pave the way for the evidence-based hiring revolution.”…Read More

Is it time to shake up traditional learning, employment pathways?

Traditional learning-to-employment pathways are becoming a thing of the past, and educators and employers should instead focus on supporting competency-based approaches to education, training and hiring.

The case for a different focus comes from Innovate+Educate, a national nonprofit that works to create new employment pathways.

The nonprofit released a new paper that makes the case for competency-based education. Shift Happens: The Entrepreneurs, Wonks, and Investors Revolutionizing the Learning-to-Employment Landscape examines the challenges facing employers and the players working to close the skills gap through new models of learning and hiring.…Read More

Want $10K to close the skills gap?

Higher-ed groups have launched a new crowdsourcing challenge in an effort to generate new ideas and stimulate breakthrough thinking to close the skills gap.

The competition, from digital credential platform Credly, with support from Lumina Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the American Council on Education (ACE), is open to the public.

“Education institutions, associations, and employers all play critical roles in assessing and certifying skills and abilities,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of Credly. “Digital credentials convert these verified competencies into a portable currency which unlocks opportunities and illuminates career pathways. Currencies of value require widespread adoption and we’re eager to see what new ideas this challenge inspires.”…Read More

5 things to know about blockchain technology

As more organizations contemplate blockchain technology’s place in higher education, discussions around its potential are growing, especially as colleges and universities increasingly rely on data and analytics for success.

In its most basic terms, blockchain technology is a database in which each “block” serves as a kind of ledger for transactions or accomplishments. Each block is secured and time-stamped.

As research around the technology grows, many higher education stakeholders are seeing direct applications in the education realm.…Read More

UT System brings credentialing to students

The University of Texas System is updating its technology learning platform to one that features an online marketplace of courses and credentials, real-time feedback and personalized student support services.

UT System’s Institute for Transformational Learning will work with Salesforce and Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce, to help establish the 2.0 version of TEx (Total Educational Experience).

TEx will fall under the Institute for Transformational Learning’s portfolio of initiatives that aim to leverage new technologies and innovative programs to benefit students. That portfolio has been dubbed UTx.…Read More

Competency-based education programs are set to skyrocket

The number of students enrolled in competency-based education programs is expected to reach more than 500,000 by 2020–meaning it will have more than doubled from the roughly 200,500 enrollments in 2015.

By 2020, students age 25 and older will account for approximately 44 percent of the tertiary education student population, meaning the potential for the competency-based education market is huge, according to technology research and advisory company Technavio.

“Several higher education institutions will offer competency-based education programs and the market will grow as corporations and employers get involved to promote skill-specific education to close the widening skill gaps,” said Jhansi Mary, a lead analyst from Technavio specializing in research on education technology sector. “For instance, AT&T has been providing funds to Udacity and Georgia Institute of Technology for developing online programs, since 2013.”…Read More

6 reforms that will move “credentialing” away from “learning”

The federal government should adopt policies that separate learning from credentialing to help individuals more effectively demonstrate educational mastery to prospective employers, asserts a tech policy think tank in a new analysis.

Why It’s Time to Disrupt Higher Education by Separating Learning From Credentialing, from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), notes that credentialing currently comes mostly in the form of traditional college diplomas, but because information technology has reshaped industries by increasing quality and decreasing cost, the time has come for the same type of transformation in higher education.

There are two major problems with the country’s current higher education system, ITIF Senior Fellow Joseph V. Kennedy, the report’s lead author, and coauthors Daniel Castro, ITIF’s vice president, and Robert Atkinson, ITIF’s president, noted:…Read More

New CTE bill creates routes to credentialing

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill to give more high school students the opportunity to take career and technical education college courses that can help prepare them for success in the 21st century.

The Workforce Advance Act will help strengthen and expand dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school options as part of Perkins-supported career technical education (CTE) programs. Strong CTE programs can provide vital access to the knowledge and skills needed for job and career success.

“At a time when higher education is more important for success in the 21st century economy than ever before, we need to help create opportunities for students in high school to prepare for college and their future careers,” Bennet said. “Tens of thousands of kids in Colorado are already taking advantage of dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities, which has helped more of them enroll and do well in college. This bill will help improve career and technical education programs by expanding these opportunities across the country to allow even more students to benefit.”…Read More