Rich skill descriptors (RSD) are machine-readable skill definitions that can be referenced from digital credentials, learner records, pathways, and job profiles. RSDs are published by skill authors, and conform to a standard global schema. They contain rich metadata and alignment and provide a universal skills vocabulary. openRSD is an open library for the creation, storage and sharing of rich skill descriptors (RSDs).

What are rich skill descriptors?

RSDs structure skills data and add context. They:

  • are human and machine readable
  • give a common definition of a skill and provide the context behind the skill
  • allow interoperability in credentials i.e. compare apples to apples
  • establish a shared language between educators and employers

What benefit do RSDs provide?

The current micro-credential ecosystem is fractured, lacking a consistent definition across higher education, vocational education, and industry. Everyone infuses micro-credentials, and their supporting skills data, with their own terms and value statements.

RSDs provide a common, standardised, skills language. When RSDs are aligned to micro-credentials they provide essential context to the award.

How do RSDs fit in the skills ecosystem?

RSDs provide a digital means of conveying rich skill data that is both human and machine readable. This ‘digital transformation’ of learner skills data is essential in a world where AI is increasingly being used to scan for candidates with best job fit.


RSDs bring equity to the learner-earner ecosystem: allowing skills attainment to be awarded and recognised on an even playing field.

openRSD - an open library for the storage of Rich Skill Descriptors (RSDs)


openRSD is an open library for the creation, storage and sharing of rich skill descriptors (RSDs).

openRSD uses Edalex’s open source technology stack to create locally- and globally-relevant libraries of RSDs that are open to contributors and consumers around the world.

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