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.

Glossary of skills terms

Language matters – use this handy glossary of skills terms that defines language relevant to digital badges, micro-credentials, recognition, skills data, the skills ecosystem and more

Get across the skills basics

Skills basics FAQs

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.

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

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

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

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

A Provisional Evidence Record recognises progression towards mastery during a study period. Learners receive timely feedback, gain confidence as they progress and can share proof of their learning throughout and not just at the end of their studies. Provisional Evidence Records use gamification to track and drive learner progress. At the end of a course, learners receive an immutable digital credential that can be instantly verified. Provisional Evidence Records make learners’ skills visible and are positioned in context with job markets through rich skill descriptors (RSDs), detailed evidence of skill achievement including artefacts, framework alignments and occupational and job market data.

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

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

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

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

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

The Learner Dashboard in Credentialate displays provisional and earned badges, provides a cohort comparison, displays attendance statistics and is accessible by multiple stakeholders. A digital backpack is included, where learners have full access and control over their credentials – while they’re learning and as they continue on into employment or further education.

The Learner Passport is an EdTech solution that enables the collection over time of formal and/or informal credentials for academic and non-academic achievements that can be curated, displayed and shared. It comprises digital credentials, credential evidence collected from multiple sources, an online portfolio, access to the world’s largest RSD library and a comprehensive learner profile. Within the Learner Passport the kind of data that can be collected and shared includes – Personal Details; Educational Background; Learning Experiences; Achievements and Certifications; Skills and Competencies; and Reflection and Growth

Particularly for marginalised groups, the Learner Passport promotes equity and social mobility, creating a more even playing field. The Learner Passport enables recognition of learners’ skills and helps them showcase their strengths.

Visit the Learner Passport Website

Competency-based education (CBE) is a framework for teaching and assessment of learning based on predetermined competencies, with a focuse on outcomes and real-world performance. CBE is a flexibile learning model where learners can progress at their own pace and depth. It recognises what the learner already knows and focuses on learners’ demonstrated capabilities of desired learning outcomes instead of standarised assessment. CBE supports learners with diverse knowledge backgrounds, literacy levels, and other related aptitudes. Learners are able to prove their understanding on more personal and authentic terms. CBE can reduce inefficiency (including time spent learning) and increase pedagogical precision and achievement.

Mastery-based education is an instructional model where learners progress through a curriculum only after they master a preceding level of knowledge or skill. Mastery levels are typically predetermined by an insitution may progress from a conceptual understanding to mastery of a subject with a number of levels inbetween. Learners move at their own pace and their learning path is determined by their progression of mastery, rather than the time they spend on a topic. Assessment in a master-based learning framework may not follow traditional lines, and could include performance-based or authentic assessments, learners may have multiple opportunities to be assessed and grading may not adhere to traditional rubrics. Mastery-based learning focuses on concepts as much as skills, as opposed to competency-based education (CBE), which focuses on demonstrated capabilities.

A digital backpack is an online space where learners can store, curate and share their digital credentials. Learners retain management and control over their digital digital backpack after they complete their learning and can continue to add credentials as they engage in lifelong learning. Digital credentials can be organised into collections of complementary skills and be shared as a skill set with prospective employers and others.

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

Where we sit in the Skills Ecosystem

Metadata Minimum Expectations

Released by 1EdTech Consortium’s TrustEd Microcredential Coalition, the TrustEd Microcredential Framework aims to enhance transparency and trust in digital credentials, benefiting learners, educators, and employers. Building on the Open Badges data standard, the framework introduces three types of micro-credentials, each representing a set of minimum and recommended data requirements to recognise learners’ mastery of skills. To earn the TrustEd Micro-credential classification, digital credentials must be issued with metadata meeting minimum expectations, including skills definitions, framework alignment, rubrics, issuer information, evidence, and more. 

View the complete framework and Metadata Minimum Expectations.

The TrustEd Microcredential Framework reinforces Edalex’s commitment to provide personal evidence and framework alignment within the metadata of digital credentials.

  • Credentialate empowers learners with the confidence to tell their story through skills visibility and proof of achievement.
  • openRSD platform ( the world’s largest open library of rich skill descriptors (RSDs) – produces powerful metadata packages that structure skills data and adds the necessary context to specific skills, making them human-readable and machine-actionable.
This table identifies the minimum and recommended metadata requirements to issue a TrustEd Microcredential.
Skills

Identify skills represented in credential

Knowledge

  • Identified using text

Application

  • Linked to external skills definitions
Framework Alignment

Identify alignment to a framework

Knowledge

  • Identified using text

Application

  • Identified and linked to external frameworks using CASE or Rich Skills Descriptors (RSDs)
Issuer Accreditation

Identify accreditation status or awarding authority

Knowledge

Application

Issuer*

Identify which organization is issuing the badge

Knowledge

  • Recommended from an accredited or industry-recognized organization, and that data is included

Application

  • Recommended from an accredited or industry-recognized organization, and that data is included
Evidence

Provide the opportunity to include sample work or other evidence to support the assertion

Knowledge

  • Optional

Application

  • Recommended
Rubric

If applicable, provide the scoring rubric that way used in the assessment

Knowledge

  • None

Application

  • Optional
Result

Identify the learner's final assessment result, does not have be numeric

Knowledge

  • Required

Application

  • Required
Criteria

Identify what the learner needed to achieve to earn the badge

Knowledge

  • Required

Application

  • Required
Assessment

Information about assessment(s) completed in earning the credential

Knowledge

Application

Duration

Information related to the length of time required to complete the credential

Knowledge

  • Optional

Application

  • Optional
Achievement type*

The type of achievement most closely aligned with the credential

Knowledge

  • Required, must use the specific type that most closely matches assertion (eg, Competency, Skills, Degree, microcredential, etc.)

Application

  • Required, must use the specific type that most closely matches assertion (e.g.: Competency, Skills, Degree, microcredential, etc.)
Endorsement (only used if 3rd party endorsement exists)

Identify 3rd party support or approval of credential

Knowledge

  • Optional

Application

  • Required

*Required in all Open Badges, but the TrustEd Microcredential requires it to include specific information.

Determining platform quality

Eights Elements of Quality Framework-1000x1956

The Competency-based Education (CBE) Network included the following list to help education providers determine the quality of CBE programs, which is translatable to determining the quality of a Credential Evidence Platform.

Credentialate helps institutions achieve many of these requirements, in particular:

  • Clear, measurable, meaningful and integrated competencies – Credentialate provides a fully integrated Skills Recognition Infrastructure that connects content, assessment and learning outcomes data to industry-defined skills, competencies and alignment to frameworks and employability outcomes
  • Coherent program and curriculum design – visibility and control over skills attainment supports evidence-based decision-making and provides actionable insights into the curriculum planning and management lifecycles
  • Credential-level assessment strategy with robust implementation – built to open standards, Credentialate systematically provides personalised qualitative and quantitative evidence of learner-level achievement, leveraging automation and machine learning
  • Transparency of student learning – personalised evidence allows a Mastery approach to learning, helping learners move incrementally towards full-award credentials. They can signal their competencies to employers sooner, speak confidently to their skills and easily share proof of same not only at the end of the journey, but throughout
  • Evidence-driven continuous improvement – with full visibility of skills attainment, Credentialate provides the ability to identify current and potential gaps in skill coverage, supporting the accreditation process and driving evidence-backed continuous improvement

Browse Credentialate solutions

Digital Badges

Digital badges recognise skills or workplace achievement and are flexible and easily shared. Manage complex awarding criteria
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Evidence

Make learners' skills visible and show proof of what they can do through quantitative and qualitative data and artefacts of learning
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Skills Data

Create order from data chaos. Unleash skills data from disparate systems. Surface insights for the institution, learner and employers
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CBE

Enable comptency-based education (CBE), mastery-based and other types of learning models. Recognise progression of learning
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Learner Dashboard

Dynamic 24/7 display of provisional and earned badges, cohort comparison and feedback accessible by the learning community
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Learner Passport

Provide a holistic portrait of a learner that supports employability in their current learning journey and throughout their lifelong learning
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