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Credential Engine and the Open Skills Network: Powering connections in learn and work ecosystems

With growing momentum for skills-based education and hiring, we all need to work together for more equitable ecosystems that enable everyone to have the skills necessary to thrive in a fast-changing workforce. The Open Skills Network and Credential Engine are working together to make rich, valuable skills information publicly available and reusable.

Why focus on skills? Skill- or competency-based education and training focuses on building a person’s capabilities and communicating their skills transparently in their credentials. Skills-based learning empowers people with an understanding of their own skills, no matter where they achieved them. Skills-based hiring focuses on a candidate’s skills rather than criteria such as degrees, helping employers find talent through more equitable and inclusive practices. Learning and employment records that include skills achievements help people navigate pathways to opportunities based on what they know and can do.

Why open skills? To connect learning and employment practices, we need skills information that can be used across different systems and processes. Open skills are publicly available on the web as data– they are not siloed in specific education or employment systems or files like PDFs. To make these skills more meaningful and useful, Rich Skill Descriptors (RSDs) include contextual information about each skill, such as occupational and educational alignments and connections to professional standards.

Why linked data? Skills and RSDs are connected to contextual information using linked open data in the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL). This enables a common language across learn and work ecosystems, providing rich information about each skill as well as connections to other skills, credentials, courses, jobs, pathways, and more. CTDL is both human and machine readable, for people to understand their own skills and for systems to analyze skills data. Open skills and their linked data bridge across different processes in education, learning, and employment, and also enable sharing, discovery, reuse, and remix.

The Open Skills Network and Credential Engine together support the development of rich, meaningful skills information publicly available and reusable on the web. The combination of data among connected skills, credentials, courses, and pathways from multiple sources is exponentially more powerful than information from any single source or system. And when all of this linked data is open, it can be used by everyone to support the needs of evolving learn and work ecosystems.

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