Credential Transparency Description Language


Credential Engine developed the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) to ensure that data related to credentials and skills speak a common language. With so many different ways to describe similar credentials, skills, and competencies, it is difficult to make comparisons between offerings (Credential Engine, n.d.).

The CTDL is a schema (a type of mini-language that people and systems can use to understand each other even if their data comes from different sources) that anyone can use to share information about credentialing data. In addition to providing a description language for credentials, CTDL also provides the means for describing and relating adjacent resources such as assessments, learning resources, work roles, occupations, pathways and other resource types. The CTDL provides a common, unified way of describing information in the Credential Registry; it also is an open language that can be used on the Web.

Using this language, learners and workers can understand the availability, costs, time, and value of different credentials. This can give them greater agency and access to navigate the full range of learning and career opportunities. Credential providers and educators are able to more clearly describe the credentials they offer, explain their quality and value, and highlight how they help meet the needs of individuals, businesses, and the community. Employers can discover and hire people who have the skills and competencies they need by effectively signaling job requirements. And policymakers and thought leaders can better understand credentials, allowing them to forge equitable solutions to support a strong economy.

Relationship to Ecosystem

A credential transparency description language helps learners and workers move more seamlessly through the ecosystem because it increases their knowledge of the credentials available and what they entail. Also, a clear, common language makes employers more knowledgeable about the competencies and skills inherent in a worker’s credential. 


Credential Registry. (n.d.). Credential transparency. 

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