Get Across the Skills Basics

Skills are the building blocks, the translation piece and the common language at the intersection of learners, learning institutions and employers.
The Skills Ecosystem is a dynamic and constantly evolving landscape. Credentialate sits at the centre of this ecosystem, and acts as the Skills Core, the connective tissue that integrates with each segment so that you can work within the entire ecosystem.

Credentialate makes skills visible, allowing connection from your curriculum to recognition of learning. To understand the Skills Ecosystem properly, you need to understand how skills relate to the core and secondary segments of the market. Below you'll find a range of information and resources to help put skills and the Skills Ecosystem into context.

The skills ecosystem explained

What are the segments of the skills ecosystem and how do they interact with skills? What are rich skill descriptors (RSDs) and how do they help skills data move around the ecosystem? How does Credentialate fit within the skills ecosystem? 

Credentialate Evolving Ecosystem - Graphic

Glossary of skills terms

Language matters - use this handy Glossary of Terms that defines language relevant to skills recognition, skills data, the skills ecosystem and more:


Skills basics FAQs

What is skill data?

Skill data is any data point that is in reference to an individual’s skills and includes data that measures what someone can do (Miller, 2021). Some examples of skill data include skill assessment results, experience details, skill proficiency levels, information on what skills people are learning, skills developed through degrees, certifications or licenses and training. Skill data is a snapshot of skill sets at any given time and can be measured any way you need it.

What are workplace skills and competencies?

Workplace skills comprise a mix of soft skills (such as teamwork, leadership) and domain specific skills (such as digital literacy, programming or first aid). Competencies represent the knowledge and behaviours required to perform the skill.

Read 21st-Century Skills - What They Are and Why They’re Important

What are rich skill descriptors (RSD)?

Rich skill descriptors (RSD) are machine-readable skill definitions that can be referenced from digital credentials, learner records, pathways, and job profiles. RSD’s are published by skill authors, and conform to a standard global schema. They contain the context around skills - rich metadata and alignment to provide a universal skills vocabulary.

Learn More About Rich Skill Descriptors

How do you assess attainment of workplace skills?

Unlike traditional assessments, where there is a definitive right and wrong answer, workplace and transferable skills are far more intangible to measure against. Performance-based or authentic assessments ask learners to utilise their workplace skills to problem solve typical workplace challenges and are scored against grading rubrics that allow educators to assess without bias.

Watch Authentic Assessment of Critical Skills and Career Readiness

What is a rich personal evidence record?

Credentialate systematically creates a rich personal evidence record - showing alignment to a global standard skills description through rich skill descriptors (RSDs), qualitative and quantitative evidence of skill achievement, frameworks and occupational and job market data. Our recent market research survey revealed that just 33% of college graduates felt confident of their ability to speak to their strengths and differentiate themselves. With a Credentialate rich personal evidence record, learners’ skills become visible and are positioned in context with job markets.

Explore Credentialate Personal Evidence Records

How do micro-credentials relate to skills?

Micro-credentials are assessed, short-form courses that are typically developed to meet a specific skills gap, rather than replace the learning a full degree provides. As such, skills are integral to the creation of micro-credentials. It is usually skills that are recognised upon completion in the form of a digital badge.

Read Micro-Credentials - What They Are and Why They're Valuable

Why is the link between micro-credentials and skills important?

Skills are the universal language and the bridge from learning to earning.

For micro-credentials to have meaning in the market, and provide currency for learners, they must first be mapped to skills and competencies. The skills and competency data is then aligned to industry and/or National frameworks and to labour market data, providing visibility and transparency to all in the skills ecosystem.

Read Integrating Industry, Educators and Skills-Based Curricula

How are skills represented in digital badges?

Most digital badges recognise the overall course outcomes, with no recognition of individual learner achievement. With Credentialate, a personal evidence record is created for each learner, recognising the skills and competencies in the curriculum and the learner’s qualitative and quantitative level of attainment against them. Skills and competencies are aligned to frameworks, providing a meaningful benchmark for employers. Job market data is referenced, giving the learner full visibility of the learner-to-earner journey. 

Explore Credentialate Personal Evidence Records

Why is digital evidence important to learners and employers?

As learners participate in micro-credentials, alternative learning and non-formal learning activities, the evidence of that learning, in a verifiable digital badge, can be collected in a digital backpack or wallet and ‘stacked’ together. This provides learners and employers with a secure and flexible way for both parties to address the skills-gap with confidence.

Read 2021 Employability Outcomes Survey Whitepaper

Why is it important for micro-credentials to align to frameworks?

If micro-credentials, alternative learning courses and non-formal activities are aligned to existing frameworks, they have the opportunity to be credited towards the attainment of a formal-learning credential, such as a 2- or 4-year degree. Credentialate addresses the gap between micro-credentials and the world of work by enabling competencies to be aligned to frameworks. Details of the framework association are displayed within the personal evidence record, providing a way for employers to more easily understand the learner’s level of skill. Frameworks from all corners of the world can be imported or alternatively, the Edalex team can provide assistance to institutions with framework data and alignment.

Read Frameworks - Proving Capability, Skill and Competency

How do I implement a skills recognition program?

Credentialate is highly interoperable and has been designed from the ground up to integrate with existing platforms within education IT ecosystems. Harvesting can occur from leading LMSs and/or other third-party platforms, such as assessment tools. In Credentialate, harvesting and badge issuing can be scheduled or triggered by external systems - such as the Student Management System (SMS). In turn, Credentialate can provide the SMS with details on earned micro-credentials and evidence pages for inclusion in learner records.

Start with Credentialate to:

  • collect and aggregate learner data from multiple sources into a centralised system
  • standardise and align it to skills, frameworks and job market data
  • issue a personal evidence record with qualitative and quantitative detail
  • track and manage skills achievement outside of course silos

Learn More About Credentialate

Explore the skills landscape with us

The skills revolution is happening quickly. We're continuously developing resouces, talking with leaders in the skills space and exploring the skills ecosystem as it evolves. We invite you to join us:

Resources for Higher Education

Next Steps

Let's Talk!
Discover Credentialate Features and Key Deliverables
The Importance of Skills Recognition