Learner Centered Credentialing

“It’s a radical time for musicians, a really revolutionary time, and I believe revolutions like Napster are a lot more fun than cash, which by the way we don’t have at major labels anyway, so we might as well get with it and get in the game.” Courtney Love

The 15th anniversary ASU GSV Summit just wrapped in San Diego a couple of days ago and aside from AI and mental health, a theme of startups, investors and panels was the portability of credit and helping the 40.4 million Americans with “some college, no degree.”

While some argue that education is immune to disruption, the reality demands a shift towards solutions that empower learners to connect with tangible outcomes and a sustainable learning future. This necessitates reimagining the transcription of credit (or course or credential) attainment and the portability of the information.

ASU, always an innovator, hosted a panel discussion “Unlock Achievement to Create Opportunity: How Digital, Verifiable Credentials Transform Learning” which touched on the advances that ASU has made with building the Trusted Learner Network to provide students with agency over their transcripts making their earned achievements portable and verifiable. This ability for a student to take these achievements to another institution or to an employer and release the ones that they want, when they want, reduces the frictions that exist within the system.

The type of credential that can be transcripted can be industry certifications as much as university classes, as WGU has been doing for quite some time to ensure that their learners are able to put their skills to use as soon as they achieve them.

Understanding the value of the myriad different types of certifications and credentials that exist today is no small feat and policy gains like the Texas State University’s Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS) make the ability to articulate credit much easier.

Startups like Acadeum seek to link in-demand programs with institutions and allow sharing of credit between the sponsoring institutions. Innovations from Coursera and the University of Illinois Gies School of Business’s iMBA create flexible and new ways of attaining advanced degrees. 

“Getting in the game” with learner-centered approaches in course development and marketing is essential. Building and marketing your courses, credentials, certifications and programs in a way that highlights their portability will help gain the mindshare and trust of today’s learners in an increasingly competitive landscape. And just as Apple iTunes transformed the music industry with simplicity and accessibility making it easier and safer to use than Napster, educational institutions must adapt to meet learners’ evolving expectations, facilitating faster, frictionless enrollments. 

All photo credit rights belong to ASU+GSV Summit.