Recognition and Accreditation of Competencies in 2030: How Different?

Wednesday 16 October 2013, I was invited to give a keynote address at a conference[1] in Warsaw celebrating the publication of 300 competency standards[2] at the initiative of the Department of Labour Market from the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Participants included the State Secretary from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, representatives of social partners such as the Polish Craft Association, the Polish Chamber of Commerce, different employer associations and trade unions.

It was interesting to witness how much has been achieved 6 years after the publication of 200 qualification standards and my first visit to Warsaw when on the 18 December 2007 I was invited to give a keynote at a conference entitled National Occupational Standards as a Tool for Employment and Education Policy. The brief for this year’s keynote was to invite the participants to explore the potential of those newly published competency standards to support, recognise and accredit learning.

What follows is the abstract of my presentation[3].

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Open Badges to the World

An Open Badge describes a criteria– and evidence-based trust relationship between an issuer and a recipient. Criteria, evidence, issuer and recipient are represented as a set of metadata ‘baked’ into a picture, the actual visual representation of an Open Badge. What I would like to explore is how metadata could connect Open Badges to the rest of the world by making criteria easily accessible, shareable and reusable by applications and services beyond the realm of Open Badges. I will focus more precisely on badges awarded for the acquisition of competencies.

When a badge is delivered in recognition of the acquisition of a new competency or a series of competencies, the badge issuer provides the information relative to the awarding criteria via a URL. The URL points to the definition of the criteria.

Some of the questions that (should) come to mind when designing a new badge are:

  • are there existing criteria or definitions that could be used to issue this new badge? Has someone already delivered a similar badge? Is there an existing competency framework to refer to?
  • where should those definitions be stored? On the original issuer server? On a public space?
  • who else might be interested in using those definitions beyond the delivery and exploitation of Open Badges?

Today, competency frameworks are used for many different purposes:

  • designing a job description
  • hiring employees
  • finding project partners
  • planning continuing professional development
  • tagging portfolio evidence
  • tagging learning resources
  • reviewing annual performance
  • accrediting  prior learning
  • awarding a badge
  • and much more…

For example, when someone compiles a portfolio for accreditation of prior learning that will lead to the awarding of a badge, the same criteria will be used to tag evidence, narratives, xAPI statements (experience API) and Open Badges. Continue reading