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Designing for the Open Digital Credential Marketplace

participants share out user needs from the perspective of employers, learners, and learning providers

Can you imagine the day when your degree will be based on what you can do, not what you know? And that digital “stacks” of competencies could get you hired without a degree, and that learning outside the classroom, at work, in life could count toward your credential.

The Lab partnered with Concentric Sky and Arizona State University and 30 other big thinkers who believe this day isn’t too far off. In early February we gathered for a design charrette alongside the IMS Global Digital Summit to push on the questions and the path toward an equitable digital credential marketplace based on competencies. It was the same week the International Council of Distance and Open Learning released a major working group paper to its members describing Alternative Digital Credentials as an “institutional imperative.”

Our conclusions

Lots of players are working on the data standards and many colleges and employers are experimenting with digital credentials and badges.

But the user needs in this emerging marketplace have yet to be explored. Our design session mapped the needs of the big three groups of users: Learners, learning providers and employers. We looked at the overlaps and mapped “jobs to be done” and initiatives currently underway.

We see the possibilities for a future marketplace, and are excited to partner with leading thinkers and practitioners to help build it. If you want to be part of a group that pushes this forward, we found significant interest in several workgroups. Watch this space for more details, or email