ACE and Credly Building Transcript for Digital Credentials

A new initiative from the American Council on Education (ACE) and Credly has built on its digital credential program plans by announcing the intention to create a digital "working transcript."

Credly is a company creating a digital credential ecosystem for students and working people. ACE is an advocacy and leadership development group for colleges and universities that also runs the College Credit Recommendation Service. CREDIT, as it's called, provides course equivalency information to help schools make credit award decisions. In January, ACE and Credly announced that institutions using CREDIT would be able to issue digital credentials through Credly, enabling working professionals to request academic credit for knowledge gained on the job and then share it online.

In the latest announcement, a $1.5 million Lumina Foundation grant is funding creation of a process for recording the outcomes of training programs as discrete competencies. These will be usable as portable, digital, verified credentials. The project will also involve creation of a machine-readable official transcript of on-the-job skills that can be shared with colleges and universities and employers as verified résumés of their knowledge, skills and abilities.

"ACE recognized the powerful interplay between learning that happens on the job and the transformative potential of more formal learning experiences when it launched [CREDIT] more than 40 years ago," said new ACE President Ted Mitchell, in a press release. "This investment in digital credentials is about creating a new language for the labor market. We're fostering collaborations between employers and institutions that reflect the reality of today's adult learners, and our shared responsibility in creating more seamless pathways from employment to education, and economic opportunity."

"We know that 70 percent of students are working, gaining valuable competencies that can lead them to a credential," added Danette Howard, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Lumina. By making it easier for learners to have a record of their verified competencies, adult learners will have a clearer pathway to a postsecondary credential, one that will take less time and cost less money."

The project is funded to run through Oct. 31, 2019. The project has its own website on Participants also include the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, professional development association AACRAO and nonprofit WorkCred, which is involved in improving the credentialing system in work.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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