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A Comprehensive Learner Record For All

How The University of North Texas Recognizes and Rewards Marketable Skills with Open Badges


Concentric Sky (makers of Badgr) and the University of North Texas have launched a first-of-its-kind comprehensive digital learner record. This digital transcript allows UNT students to easily track and share the marketable skills they acquire throughout their college experience.

Now more than ever, it is essential for students to document their experiences in a robust and verifiable manner. A comprehensive learner record (CLR) captures student skills and competencies more granularly than previous records, like traditional transcripts. Comprehensive Learner Records are inherently digital, facilitating the sharing of a wide array of connected learning experiences between parties. The records also offer university staff, students, and those with whom a record is shared an exciting new way to visualize and make informed decisions about a student’s learning journey. IMS Global, one of the organizations working to define standards around CLRs, asserts that records have eight key characteristics, all of which are features of the UNT Career Connect CLR. With the rollout of this new program, Badgr-powered CLRs are now available to any organization offering any level of education or training.

“A major purpose of our Career Connect initiative (careerconnect.unt.edu) is to help faculty, staff, and students identify and signal relevant experiences (curricular and co-curricular) and coursework into marketable skills like communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. We do this through the creation of a comprehensive learner record (CLR), which is comprised of micro-credentials students earn based on assessments of their skills. Our partnership with Concentric Sky was critical for this breakthrough.” — Mike Simmons Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of North Texas

This spring, UNT’s CLR initiative is beginning with students enrolled in the French B.A. program and the College of Visual Arts & Design Foundations program where marketable skills such as critical thinking are demonstrated by students, assessed by faculty, and recognized with digital badges. As students progress through both traditional and non-traditional learning experiences during their coursework, they are continually building evidence that accumulates over time. When assessed, this evidence allows the university to issue marketable skills credentials reflected in their Badgr-powered comprehensive learner record.

A unique dashboard feature in Badgr allows each student to view specific skills they obtain in real-time throughout their learning experiences. These insights help learners visualize their learning journey as they attain meaningful evidence of each skill and competency they demonstrate. Students may also securely share these independently verifiable achievement records with other students, members of their learning community, and prospective employers. Administrators also gain real-time analytics, showcasing how students are progressing through coursework and developing marketable skills.

This partnership represents not only a tremendous step forward for learners and educators within the UNT network, but aligns itself with a broader effort to address the growing skills gap nationally. For example, UNT and Concentric Sky are active participants in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s T3 Innovation Network that is addressing challenges in the talent marketplace.

“We’re excited to work with UNT to implement their ground-breaking marketable skills program via Badgr. Together, we’ve been able to build a pioneering solution that will set the standard for CLR implementations going forward.” —Wayne Skipper, Founder/CEO, Concentric Sky

Currently, the T3 Innovation Network consists of over 300 organizations, including over 80 international organizations. Additionally, on July 19, the White House issued an executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker. This initiative includes objectives aimed at developing a national strategy for empowering American workers through more transparent and actionable, skills-based learner records. In September 2019, the Council published a white paper calling for interoperable learner records like the one UNT and Badgr have developed.

By recognizing granular skills, allowing learners to share their data seamlessly, and independently verifying and validating students’ skills, UNT has demonstrated its commitment to this vision for the future of learning and recognition.

April 14, 2020 | Webinar

A Comprehensive Learner Record For All: How The University of North Texas Recognizes and Rewards Marketable Skills with Open Badges

During this webinar, Mike Simmons, Ph.D., the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Texas, and members of Concentric Sky’s Badgr team introduced UNT’s Career Connect CLR program. This visionary program includes a first-of-it’s-kind comprehensive learner record that captures student skills, competencies, and experiences by rewarding learners with shareable, interoperable, digital badges that represent each of their achievements. By the end of the spring 2020 semester, UNT will issue over 10,000 digital badges for assessed marketable skills. The Learner Record is currently being implemented for a cohort of students and will be applied more broadly in the fall 2020 semester.

Download the Slide Deck

About UNT:

UNT is one of the nation’s largest public research universities with 39,000 students. Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity, fueling progress, innovation, and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. As the university has grown, so has its reach and impact. UNT students earned 9,600 degrees last year from its 14 colleges and schools, and the university offers 106 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 37 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized.

Learn more about UNT Career Connect at careerconnect.unt.edu

*Header Photo by marcos mayer on Unsplash