Summarizing the Digital Credentials Summit 2024

The Digital Credentials Summit 2024, the largest annual international event focused on the possibilities of using digital credentials, is behind us. The Educational Research Institute was represented by Michał Nowakowski, project leader of our microcredentials project.

The Digital Credentials Summit, which took place on March 4–6 in New Orleans, focused on, among other things: innovations in skills and qualifications certification, developing standards for digital microcredentials, as well as exploring their impact on education, employment and society.

The event is organised by 1EdTech, an organisation of over one thousand entities from 30 countries whose main aim is to build an innovative ecosystem of educational technologies and digital credentials. The event is attended by representatives of universities, sectoral organisations and technology companies, as well as non-profit organisations.

Attending the conference in the United States made me realise that the issue of microcredentials is not just a local or individual challenge. The whole world is facing similar dilemmas: how to ensure the quality of microcredentials, which standards should be used so that they are recognised and have value in the global educational and occupational market, where does the ‘microcredential’ end and the ‘digital badge’ begin

At the Digital Credentials Summit 2024, many microcredential solutions and innovations were presented. One of them was the CLR – Comprehensive Learner Record, which presents a complete picture of a lifelong learner, from the earliest stages of learning, through advanced education, to professional achievement.

The CLR standard can be described as a set of different assertions (pdfs, certificates, courses, competences, apprenticeships, Open Badges), issued by different issuers, and presented in a verifiable and machine-readable format. It also enables the creation of learning pathways that can lead, for example, to a degree. Educational experts have designed the CLR to record more information about learning achievements than is possible with a digital badge. The registers themselves are initiated by schools, universities, the military or employers and are available for individual students or employees to share throughout their education and career.

This could be the answer to one of the main problems, which is the incompatibility of microcredentials acquired in different contexts – at university, through online courses, the workplace, or by pursuing one's interests. Each of these credentials has its own structure, granularity and context, which can make it difficult to combine into a coherent picture of a learner's educational pathway. In theory, each person, as they learn and acquire more skills, should know how to combine microcredentials to best present what they know and are able to do. But how can this be achieved systemically?

I think that teachers and local school communities should play a significant role not only in the process of creating and awarding microcredentials, but also – and perhaps most importantly –  in the process of developing an attitude of self-awareness among students about their achievements and how best to take advantage of them

adds Michał Nowakowski.