Stackability Guide


In February 2023, Education Strategy Group issued the Stackability Guide. The Guide is designed to help higher education leaders examine their internal processes related to stackability and provide guidance for developing stackable credentials to ensure that current and future students have the on- and off-ramps needed for equitable access to learning while working.

The guide is structured around four evidence-informed pillars to support learner-centered stackability and equitable uptake of credentialing opportunities:

  • Data Infrastructure and Systems
  • Mapping and Alignment of Curriculum
  • Credential Pathway Communication
  • Student-Centered Supports

The Guide is meeting the challenge that work in stackable credentialing is often built on the ability for a credential to be stacked, rather than the ability for a learner to stack a credential. Credential stacking is done on paper; it ends when the learning recognition policy is codified at an institution. Learner-centered stackability is achieved when an individual, through guidance and navigational support, leverages that policy to continue their education and training.

Given the growing interest in short-term credentials as a way for individuals to quickly shift jobs and increase their income, a focus on building learner-centered stackability has the potential to provide equitable access for students, offer more flexible training options for employers, and generate a pipeline of individuals who will re-enroll in institutions for upskilling.


Gates Foundation; Lumina Foundation


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