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Rosetta Stone for Skills: The Role of Linked Open Data in Creating a Global Network of Knowledge

Linked open data, especially in the education and employment sectors, is the foundation of which public good technology is built. There are numerous principles around what defines linked open data (see UN Statistics Wiki), but put simply, quality linked open data has a unique URI and contains links to other data via URIs. The intent behind linked open data is to create rich, useful data sources that can be interconnected with other data sources, fostering a global network of knowledge.

At its core, linked open data is about connecting pieces of data in meaningful ways, transforming isolated data points into a vast, interconnected web of information. The RSD schema is a great representation of this. By structuring skill descriptors in a universal, linked manner, the Open Skills Network allows institutions, employers, and learners to speak a common language regarding skills and competencies. This standardized framework streamlines communication, reduces ambiguities, and ensures that a skill, no matter where it is acquired or practiced, is understood and valued in the same way.

The OSN Community of Practice has a number of different projects built on the promise of linked, open data:

The Open Skills Network AI Project Group is amplifying the potential of linked open data by integrating AI tools into the tagging of course descriptions with RSDs. Traditional course descriptions provide a basic overview, but by embedding them with RSDs through AI analysis, these descriptions become more than just text. They become a dynamic interface that clearly outlines the skills a learner will acquire, presented in a machine and human readable format. This AI-powered transformation ensures that every course that undergoes the tagging process communicates its value clearly and universally, with more contextualized, useful data backing it up.

The Open Skills Network Credentialing Project Group aims to transform credentials using linked open data. By creating a comprehensive set of resources that help organizations facilitate the embedding of RSDs within credentials, this project group hopes to empower the enrichment of credentials. The current process for embedding RSDs into credentials can be daunting; from identifying RSDs that might align to the credential, to authoring new RSDs with industry-specific qualifications and terminology, it can require much work to meaningfully enhance credentials with open skills.

When credentials come embedded with RSDs, they offer an in-depth understanding of the skills they represent. Imagine a scenario where employers can instantly understand the depth and breadth of a candidate's abilities just by accessing the linked data in their credentials. Or consider a learner who wants to build on existing skills; with RSD-embedded credentials, they can quickly identify courses and programs that offer complementary skillsets.

The ultimate benefactors of these initiatives are the learners. With RSDs infused within course descriptions and credentials, learners become equipped with tools that clearly communicate their competencies. They no longer need to grapple with the challenge of translating their education into a language that the employment sector understands. Everything becomes interlinked, standardized, and universally recognized.

As more and more credentials adopt this powerful linked open data, learners will find it easier to leverage their qualifications. Whether they are charting academic pathways, seeking internships, or hunting for jobs, the clarity provided by RSDs ensures they are always informed and contextualized.

The OSN Community of Practice welcomes any and all participants. Come join our next call on Thursday, Sep 28th, and contribute to the AI or Credentialing Projects. It’s never too late to be part of this transformative coalition. Whether you’re an educator, an employer, or anyone in the greater learn-and-work ecosystem, your voice & perspective are invaluable.

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