ACE Joins National Coalition to Accelerate Adoption of Learning and Employment Records in Postsecondary Education
April 17, 2024

​ACE and other national associations that represent stakeholders on college campuses have come together to address a common challenge postsecondary institutions face in adapting learning and preparing learners for employment: slow adoption of digital credentials. Too many institutions are not yet poised to respond to the increasing demand for micro-credentials, badges, and other digital credentials that learners can use as clear evidence to prospective employers of their skills, knowledge, and abilities. “AACRAO recognizes the urgent need to develop a more inclusive and effective credentialing ecosystem that empowers learners to shape their own education and career goals,” said Melanie Gottlieb, executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). “The launch of the LER Accelerator coalition marks a pivotal moment in higher education, as we unite to tackle the critical challenge of accelerating the adoption of Learning and Employment Records (LERs).”

“Embracing the LER approach within colleges and universities indicates a significant cultural shift, necessitating change management and communication strategies,” said ACE Assistant Vice President Michele Spires. “ACE is enthusiastic about contributing to this initiative aimed at expediting the adoption of LERs.”

The LER Accelerator coalition will increase awareness of the need for and use of digital credentials, reduce obstacles to adoption for institutions and employers, develop guidelines for implementation and application, and demonstrate successful models and examples. Funding from Walmart will enable the LER Accelerator coalition to address identified needs and challenges related to digital credential adoption in institutions, such as:

  • unclear market demand for skill and competency recognition,
  • perceived high administrative and technical barriers,
  • disparate enterprise data systems, and
  • current business models that do not support LER development.

“The adoption and acceleration of LERs have the potential to revolutionize an antiquated system that needs modernization,” shared Shawn VanDerziel, president and CEO of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). “We know from our research that employers trust credentials of any type from colleges and universities the most. This could be a game-changer for job seekers and employers if widely adopted.”

The LER Accelerator coalition will also hone in on the policies, practices, and systems that are needed to enable tracking of learning outcomes, competencies and skills, and achievements of learners. “To achieve trust and interoperability, we need a common language for learners, educators and employers to use when we talk about skills,” commented 1EdTech Vice President of Marketing and Higher Education Programs Sandra DeCastro. “By pooling the great work of the 1EdTech community and these incredible partners in the LER Accelerator, we are moving closer to achieving those goals to power learner potential.”

On their own, no single institutional stakeholder group has the power to accelerate the pace of post-secondary transformation to scale these credentials. However, through collaborating as a coalition as much as 80 percent of the resources and information needed to move LERs forward are available if taken together across these stakeholders.

The LER Accelerator coalition consists of membership groups representing the following stakeholders:

The LER Accelerator will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Raising awareness of LERs and innovative credentials among learners, educators (e.g., faculty, co-curricular professionals) employers, and institutions.
  2. Advocating for policy changes that will support the development and use of LERs.
  3. Integrating LERs into courses and curricula, including general education programs.
  4. Developing resources and guidelines for institutions.
  5. Measuring the impact of LERs on student learning, retention, graduation, and post-graduation career success outcomes.

The LER Accelerator encourages higher education faculty, staff, leaders, and stakeholders at institutions to participate.

For more information, please contact ACE’s Sarah Cunningham.