National Coalition Launched to Accelerate Adoption of Learning and Employment Records (LERs) in Post-Secondary Education

A coalition of national associations that represent stakeholders on college campuses have come together to address a common challenge post-secondary institutions face in adapting learning and preparing learners for employment: slow adoption of digital credentials. Too many institutions are not yet poised to respond to the increasing demand for micro-credentials, badges, and other digital credentials that learners can use as clear evidence to prospective employers of their skills, knowledge, and abilities.

“AACRAO recognizes the urgent need to develop a more inclusive and effective credentialing ecosystem that empowers learners to shape their own education and career goals,” said AACRAO Executive Director Melanie Gottlieb. “The launch of the LER Accelerator coalition marks a pivotal moment in higher education, as we unite to tackle the critical challenge of accelerating the adoption of Learning and Employment Records (LERs).”

“The adoption and acceleration of LERs have the potential to revolutionize an antiquated system that needs modernization,” shared Shawn VanDerziel, President and CEO of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). “We know from our research that employers trust credentials of any type from colleges and universities the most. This could be a game-changer for job seekers and employers if widely adopted.”

The LER Accelerator coalition will increase awareness of the need for and use of digital credentials, reduce obstacles to adoption for institutions and employers, develop guidelines for implementation and application, and demonstrate successful models and examples. Funding from Walmart will enable the LER Accelerator coalition to address identified needs and challenges related to digital credential adoption in institutions, such as:

  • unclear market demand for skill and competency recognition,
  • perceived high administrative and technical barriers,
  • disparate enterprise data systems, and
  • current business models that do not support LER development.
 

“Embracing the LER approach within colleges and universities indicates a significant cultural shift, necessitating change management and communication strategies,” shared ACE Assistant Vice President Michele Spires. “ACE is enthusiastic about contributing to this initiative aimed at expediting the adoption of learning and employment records,”

The LER Accelerator coalition will also hone in on the policies, practices, and systems that are needed to enable tracking of learning outcomes, competencies and skills, and achievements of learners. “To achieve trust and interoperability, we need a common language for learners, educators and employers to use when we talk about skills,” commented 1EdTech Vice President of Marketing and Higher Education Programs Sandra DeCastro. “By pooling the great work of the 1EdTech community and these incredible partners in the LER Accelerator, we are moving closer to achieving those goals to power learner potential.”

On their own, no single institutional stakeholder group has the power to accelerate the pace of post-secondary transformation to scale these credentials. However, through collaborating as a coalition, as much as 80% of the resources and information needed to move LERs forward are available if taken together across these stakeholders.

The LER Accelerator coalition consists of membership groups representing the following stakeholders:

    • Admissions Operations/Enrollment Management/Records & Registration AACRAO
    • Information Technology – Educause
    • Academic/Curricular/Faculty issues – AAC&U
    • Online and Professional Education – UPCEA
    • Career Centers and Employers – NACE
    • Institutional Research – AIR
    • Institutional Leadership – ACE
    • Competency Based Education and Skills C-BEN
    • Technology Standards and Practices – 1EdTech

, Digital Credentials Consortium

“C-BEN is honored to collaborate with longtime partners in the pursuit of quality and equity in learning by contributing our networks’ expertise and resources in service of the LER Accelerator so that all learners can achieve greater success in life and career,” shared C-BEN’s Executive Vice President, Amber Garrison Duncan. “We believe in a future where individuals have seamless access to their learning achievements through Learning and Employment Records in order to pursue employment and further education without barriers.”

“The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is committed to advancing efforts to ensure that completers are equipped with the essential competencies for success post-graduation while also promoting lifelong learning and continuous professional development,” said Christine Keller, Executive Director. “We take pride in leveraging our expertise in measurement and assessment to support this endeavor, contributing to a more inclusive, dynamic, and innovative higher education landscape.”

“Promoting the effective adoption of learning and employment records in higher education requires collaboration and a shared vision for technology,” shared Kerri Lemoie, Director, Digital Credentials Consortium. “The DCC is pleased to work alongside AACRAO and other innovative organizations to enable the use of technology standards and practices that unlock opportunities for learners.”

UPCEA’s Deputy CEO and Chief Learning Officer, Amy Heitzman, noted, “UPCEA is thrilled to engage with long-time partners AACRAO and the other critical stakeholders on this important project to help build member institution capacities that support awareness and integration of LERs.”

The LER Accelerator will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Raising awareness of LERs and innovative credentials among learners, educators (e.g., faculty, co-curricular professionals) employers, and institutions.
  2. Advocating for policy changes that will support the development and use of LERs.
  3. Integrating LERs into courses and curricula, including general education programs.
  4. Developing resources and guidelines for institutions.
  5. Measuring the impact of LERs on student learning, retention, graduation, and post-graduation career success outcomes.

“In order to mature and scale these initiatives, institutions must consider the shifts in culture, workforce, and technology required for this kind of digital transformation, such as building capacity for cross-institutional collaboration, creating and sustaining a culture of data, and expecting an enterprise focus on interoperability and institutional resilience,” shared John O’Brien, President, EDUCAUSE. “The LER Accelerator partnership is just the right group to tackle these issues.”

“AAC&U is thrilled to be part of LER Accelerator,” said Lynn Pasquerella, President. “This groundbreaking collaboration across so many respected associations signals how higher education can come together to catalyze support for advancing students’ career readiness for a future that will benefit all of us.”

“It’s through the power of collaboration of our practitioner associations with member stakeholders across each campus that we have an opportunity to create real momentum and change to the benefit of all of our institutions and learners alike,” noted Gottlieb.

The LER Accelerator encourages higher education faculty, staff, leaders, and stakeholders at institutions to participate.

For more information please contact: Amber Garrison Duncan

About the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)

C-BEN is a network of institutions, employers, and experts who believe competencies can unlock the future of learning — making education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. We support stakeholders across the spectrum of competency-based learning, from institutions and employers who want to embed competencies into their existing programs to those looking to design full competency-based degree programs from the ground up. For more information, visit C-BEN.org

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