Verifications / Recordkeeping
Overview

Verifications and recordkeeping constitute key components of the learn-and-work ecosystem. Verifying learning and recording that learning on a portable record is the main way learners communicate their readiness for further education and work.

Most job seekers rely on resumés, job applications, and credentials to communicate their skills and work experience to  prospective employers. These traditional methods do not capture the full range of a job seeker’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. These documents cannot be combined easily into a single profile that represents the entirety of an individual’s abilities. They have other drawbacks as well: They typically fail to represent skills in a manner that is universally understood, do not allow for easy verification that a specific skill was demonstrated by the learner, and do not indicate if and when the skill becomes outdated or needs to be renewed.

While most institutions continue to use the traditional college and university transcript, several initiatives are underway to reform student learning records: (1) Comprehensive Learning Records; (2) Learning and Employment Records; (3) Comprehensive Navigator; (4) Digital Wallets; and 5) Blockchain.

  1. Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs) seek to capture, record, and communicate learning when and where it happens in a student’s higher education experience. This includes learning from courses, programs, and degrees, as well as experience outside the classroom that helps students develop career-ready skills and abilities (often known as co-curricular learning). A growing list of colleges and universities and third-party intermediaries are working to make CLRs more widely adopted as a way to more accurately and fully validate individuals’ skills and competencies.
  2. Learning and Employment Records (LERs) are comprehensive digital records of an individual’s skills, competencies, credentials, and employment history that may be able to show a complete picture of an individual’s education and work experiences. They have the potential to highlight verified skills, reduce hiring biases, and match people to employment opportunities. An LER can document learning wherever it occurs.
  3. Comprehensive Navigator Systems (Navigators) are still in the concept stage. They are envisioned as efficient, data-rich workforce system(s) which would operate within numerous discrete and highly complex systems that generate labor market information for federal and state governments. The navigator could be an online guardian that collects and scans occupation shifts and alerts employees, finds relevant job openings, and identifies the skills needed on new jobs. Such a system could operate much like recommendation sites such as Netflix, Amazon, or Expedia. Information that can drive the creation of an efficient navigator could be disaggregated and assembled via numerous labor market data sources.  Since efficient labor markets require good information flow and widespread participation, which the U.S. lacks, the creation of a workforce navigation system could enable needed consolidation and effective sharing of information.
  4. A digital wallet (also known as e-wallet) is a common component of a digital trust. The root of trust in a decentralized identity ecosystem primarily comes from issuers which are authorities on a set of information. Issuers provide users with credentials that contain authoritative information about them in the form of digitally verifiable claims. The wallet allows an end-user to store and manage Verifiable Credentials(VCs) that have been issued to them, so they can later be used for authentication and access purposes. By giving the user control of their own digital wallet, a user is in charge of how and when they choose to present information to a verifier or relying party. When a verifier needs to validate some information, they can request specific pieces of data from the holder to meet their verification requirements. The wallet is an electronic deviceonline service, or software program that allows a party to make electronic transactions with another party bartering digital currency units for goods and services. This can include purchasing items online or using a smartphone to make an in-store purchase. Money can be deposited in the digital wallet prior to any transactions, or an individual’s bank account can be linked to the digital wallet. Users might also have their driver’s licensehealth card, and other ID documents stored within the wallet. The credentials can be passed to a merchant’s terminal wirelessly via near field communication (NFC). Increasingly, digital wallets are being made to authenticate the holder’s credentials.

Examples of digital wallet providers include:

  • Diwala wallet: A credential and verification platform serving six countries in Africa. Institutions can issue secure and authentic digital certificates to their graduates or trainees. Graduates or trainees can receive digital certificates from their institutions which are easy to access and share with future employers.
  • GATACA: Founded at MIT in 2017, GATACA has developed a number of products to support self-sovereign identity designed for the digital age. They are targeting use in three sectors: government, education, and finance. The GATACA Wallet enables users to securely store identity credentials and manage access to these right from their phone.
  • SmartResume: iDatafy, is a data consortium created by iDatafy®. Trusted partners such as education institutions and workforce skill certifiers register academic achievements, leadership experience and certified workforce skills of their current and past students on its permissioned blockchain. The certifications are presented on customized SmartResumes® that include links to the digital attestation by the partners. The resulting  resume can be used by the recipient to share with third parties. Employers also have the ability to search for certified job talent in a way they were never able to do before. SmartResume® has been certified as meeting both the IMS Global standard of interoperability and data security best practices.
  • MATTR: Based in New Zealand, and released in June 2020, the company’s mobile wallet for smartphones features a simple user interface to allow people to interact with and receive credentials from issuers and present credentials to third parties. The wallet allows an end-user to store and manage Verifiable Credentials that have been issued to them, so they can later be used for authentication and access purposes. By giving the user control of their own Digital Wallet, a user is fully in charge of how and when they choose to present information to a verifier or relying party. When a verifier needs to validate some information, they can request specific pieces of data from the holder to meet their verification requirements. The Mobile Wallet App makes use of the computing hardware found in smartphones and packages the wallet to the user as a downloadable application.

Early implementers of digital wallets include:

  • Arizona State University Pocket
  • CT Digital Wallet ▬ allows storage of a digital copy of important documents. The documents stored in the app are determined by the owner.
  • The Open Credential Publisher Wallet by Randa Solutions is a wallet application that allows North Dakota citizens to collect, store, and share their High School Transcripts as verifiable credentials. Any achievement that is formatted as a Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) or Open Badge can be collected in the wallet.
  • The Teacher Wallet by Randa Solutions is a secure digital place for educators to collect, store, and share their professional credentials and creative property.
  • Talao The Velocity Career Wallet Walt.id is an app that offers a reliable, and private way to store and manage education and career credentials in one place and share them with third parties.
  • WayTo by Workday securely stores and shares details about employment history, skills, certifications, and more. The wallet accept credentials from issuers, like employers, shares accomplishments, skills, and awards, and the information is sharable via a  mobile device.
  • Yoma by Trinsic uses Trinsic’s API to empower African youth to create a verifiable digital CV to access better employment opportunities. Yoma is a marketplace between African youth looking for employment and organizations that are looking to employ people. Yoma is supported by a group of collaborators including UNICEF.

Several key challenges confront those seeking to reform verification of learning and digital recordkeeping. Among them:

  • Interoperability of technology systems is essential if they are to connect and share learning gained from different education and training providers. This requires open, common standards for data, and machine-readable information to enable data transfer, linking, and the combination of data from multiple sources.
  • Ownership of learner-worker records (self-sovereignty) is an increasing concern. Who owns the  record? What goes on the record? How do you develop a digital record that will change over a lifetime of learning and work?
  • Digitizing learner records raises more concerns about students’ privacy rights. “Many records and data transactions occur between students and the academic institution before, during and after pupils’ attendance … From a risk perspective, these records … contain personally identifiable information … and must be protected. Students have access rights to their academic and related records, and institutions must be prepared to furnish this access accordingly. These processes raise issues around records management … Student data needs protection controls. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law limiting external disclosure and enabling student and parental access to student records. And while there are few, if any, examples of it happening, federal research funding can be withdrawn from non-compliant institutions.”
Alternative Terminology
  • Digital wallet providers
  • Blockchain — For more on blockchain technology, see ACE report summary of a DOE-funded and ACE-managed Education Blockchain Initiative (EBI) launched February 2020 through September 2021.
  • Digital Transcripts
Relationship to Ecosystem

Verifying learning and recording that learning on a portable record is the main way learners communicate their readiness for further education and work. Many reforms are underway to digitize comprehensive learner and employment records that are portable and owned by individuals, much like their health records.

Examples
  • The Digital Credentials Consortium is a group of colleges and universities across North America and Europe that are working together to build a shared infrastructure for the digital issuing, sharing, and verifying of academic credentials. The Last Mile research identifies barriers to adoption of digital academic credentials in education and employment. The project builds on interviews with key stakeholders from technology, employers, HR software, and universities. It identifies structural challenges and possible strategies to address them. The report can inform the work of policymakers and funders, and it benefits the larger community of organizations trying to develop solutions that improve education-to-employment pathways.
  • Tennessee Board of Regents is pursuing large-scale implementation of a Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) aligned with the IMS Global Standards. These standards are part of the IMS Global Learning Consortium network, a nonprofit organization that enables a plug-and play architecture and ecosystem that provides a foundation on which innovative products can be rapidly deployed and work together seamlessly. The CLR will showcase the entirety of a student’s academic and co-curricular journey. The plan for 2023 is to use the CLR across all community colleges and technical institutions in Tennessee. High-impact practices and student learning outcomes are coded by placing attributes on each course in Banner. Co-curricular values will be assigned a code and placed in Banner for all institutions to use.
  • Western Governors University (WGU) is working to provide a learner-owned Learning and Employment Record (LER) and achievement wallet to all students so that they may see the validated skills they have earned and curate them for their own use. This open-standards effort helps working students in Indiana transfer skills-based educational credentials into the information systems of traditional higher education through a learner-owned record called an “Achievement Wallet.” The Indiana Achievement Wallet is a digital profile that tracks a student’s personal and professional learning achievements and helps them share those achievements. The Indiana Achievement Wallet allows a learner to showcase skills that a singular transcript or resumé is unable to capture. With the Wallet, job seekers have a digital and personalized profile to share with employers to prove their skills and credentials. The Wallet also helps learners find open jobs and identify ways to advance in the workforce.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce T3 Network developed a video on LERS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_o3TKsyvkI.
History

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Offices (AACRAO) and NASPA (Association of Student Affairs Professionals) partnered on a national pilot project between 2015-2017 to develop models for a more comprehensive student record. After the pilot, the associations moved to the second stage of this work to develop and adopt Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs) among a large and diverse group of American colleges and universities. The National Institute for Learning Outcomes and Assessment (NILOA) joined the work. The work focused on defining the content of competency-based transcripts/records, integrating and using data to create CLRs, and tracking student progress toward competencies and learning outcomes. With help from C-BEN and 1EdTech, the content of CBE transcripts/records is being standardized and socialized among institutions who offer CBE courses and programs. A report issued in September 2019 included recommended standards for CBE transcripts. Data integration work informed a white paper on the challenges and potential solutions. As the CLR efforts continue through the AACRAO community, institutions are thinking more broadly about opportunities to capture all meaningful experiences that can showcase a learner’s competencies, hence the growing interest in curating knowledge related to LERs.

Another effort that increased interest in new verification and recordkeeping systems was the U.S. Electronic Transcript Practices and Costs (parchment.com), the SPEEDE/ExPRESS study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics in 1997 (A Business Case for the Electronic Exchange of Student Records). By examining the significant cost savings, efficiencies, and organizational benefits seen by other industries, the SPEEDE study suggested that adopting electronic data interchange (EDI) would yield similar benefits for students and staff at educational institutions. With a mechanism to exchange student records in near-real time, admissions officers would be able to save time in matriculating and placing students. Students would not miss key dates waiting for records to arrive and be processed, and administrators would be able to use the student record data to perform calculations and other high-level functions to improve their workflow and services. The SPEEDE study suggested that, as institutions began to adopt and use electronic methods of exchanging student records, they would see near-term cost savings. In addition, they would have the opportunity to maximize the potential of digital records at their institution. Since the SPEEDE study, adoption of eTranscripts as an electronic record exchange mechanism is gaining widespread traction.

Connections To The Learn-And-Work Ecosystem

References

AACRAO. (2019, July 29). SPEEDE Format Converter Utility.

https://www.aacrao.org/resources/newsletters-blogs/aacrao-connect/article/speede-format-converter-utility

Cacicio, S. (2022, April 25). It’s in the Design: Learning and Employment Records for Greater Equity – Digital Promise

https://digitalpromise.org/2022/04/25/its-in-the-design-learning-and-employment-records-for-greater-equity/#:~:text=Learning%20and%20Employment%20Records%20%28LERs%29%20are%20comprehensive%20digital,picture%20of%20an%20individual%E2%80%99s%20education%20and%20work%20experiences.

Despres, G. (2018, January 27). Managing Student Records In Higher Educationhttps://www.ironmountain.com/blogs/2018/managing-student-records-in-higher-education

Jobs for the Future Report. (2022, April). Building a Skills-Based Talent Marketplace: Verifiable Credentials Wallets for Learning and Employment.

Learning and Employment Records Progress and the path forward- A white paper from the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Digital Infrastructure Working Group. (2020, September). https://www.commerce.gov/sites/default/files/2020-09/LERwhitepaper09222020.pdf

MATTR: https://learn.mattr.global/tutorials/wallets/mattr-wallet#prerequisites

Talao: https://talao.io

Teacher Wallet:  https://myteacherwallet.com/

Way To: WayTo APK for Android Download (apkpure.com)

White Paper on Interoperable Learning Records Data Transparency Working Group. (2019, September).

https://www.imsglobal.org/sites/default/files/articles/ILR_White_Paper_FINAL_EBOOK.pdf

Workforce Monitor: report https://wfmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/edpath-piece-in-pdf-3-1.pdf

Yoma: Customer Story: Yoma • Trinsic

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