Advancing Digital Credentials to Support Lifelong Learning Advancing Digital Credentials to Support Lifelong Learning

Today’s resumes and transcripts fall short when organizing and presenting verifiable skills and achievements now possible in the digital age. Given the challenges that corporations and individuals are having worldwide in finding the right fit between opportunities and quality candidates (the well-known “skills gap”), the old approaches to credentialing are simply not good enough for today and the future. With advancements in big data analytics and AI, digital credentials “with data inside” are an invaluable resource for decision-makers.

Emerging educational models focus on the results of the educational process in the form of demonstrated competencies and seek to represent those competencies in digital credentials.

Modern digital credentials must be learner-controlled, skills-based, verifiable, shareable and discoverable, and interoperable.

IMS Global members are leaders in implementing innovative educational models, developing best practices for the design of digital credentials and programs, and collaborating to advance the digital credentials ecosystem through IMS-certified standards such as Open Badges and related digital learner records that enable learners, institutions, workers, and employers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive world.

IMS is committed to furthering the development and adoption of innovative solutions that support competency-based education and the transferability of learner micro-credentials within and across institutions, non-traditional learning opportunities, and employment centers. The IMS digital credentials portfolio currently includes the Open Badges, Comprehensive Learner Record, and the Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange (CASE) standards with future work to include learning pathways, advanced means of verification, and standards-based integration of badging and learning platforms.

Open Badges

Comprehensive Learner Record

Comprehensive Learner Record icon

Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange (CASE)

CASE icon



Open Badges (OBv2)

Useful Links

Open Badges are the verifiable micro-credentials that fill the gap in traditional transcripts and resumes.
Open Badges are a specific type of digital badge designed to promote learner-agency principles. Open Badges communicate skills and achievements by providing visual symbols of accomplishments embedded with verifiable data and evidence that can be shared across the web. Open Badges empower individuals to take their learning with them—wherever they go—building a rich picture of their lifelong learning and achievements journey. Thousands of organizations across the world already issue Open Badges, from non-profits to major employers and educational institutions at all levels.
Open Badges are...

and earner-controlled

records of achievement
with linked-data structures


Open Badges 2.0 (OBv2) is the credential for the digital learning era. When compared to alternatives like resumes, OBv2 offers far more robust and reliable capabilities to users in the education and employment marketplace with features like skills metadata, verifiable authenticity and quality, in addition to earners’ control of their personal achievement records.


Not all digital badges are Open Badges. Only OBv2 can be certified by IMS Global for interoperability, which provides the assurance that the badge can be verified and transferred to any certified platform without losing or mishandling any achievement data. See all IMS-certified Open Badges products.
Over 43 million Open Badges have been issued worldwide to date.
Source: 2020 IMS Global-Credential Engine survey of top Open Badges platform providers.
Examples of Open Badges

Brandman University

Skills in the Curriculum

Digital Promise

Educator Professional Development


Data Science Program

Madison College

Dietary Manager Certificate

Purdue University

Department of Chemistry

 Brandman University ePublishing digital badge Digital Promise digital badge IBM Data Science Cognitive Class digital badge Madison College Dietary Manager Certificate Purdue University Department of Chemistry Pipetting digital badge
Click each badge for details.



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Comprehensive Learner Record

Useful Links

Higher Education

CLR Roundtables for Institutional Leaders (open to the public)

Press Release: AACRAO Issues Guidance on CLR Adoption

7 Things You Should Know About the Comprehensive Learner Record

K-12 Districts

IMS Announces PIVOT Project to Advance K-12 Digital Transcripts

Broward Open CLR Lab (video)

The goal of the Comprehensive Learner Record is to capture a student’s complete picture of learning, from the earliest stages of planning to their achievements and competencies. The Comprehensive Learner Record standard (formerly called Extended Transcript) is a new generation of secure verifiable digital records for learners that contain all nature of learning experiences and achievements including courses, competencies, skills, co-curricular achievements, prior learning, internships, and experiential learning. Additionally, the Comprehensive Learner Record may include the learner’s plan or pathway towards their goals. 
IMS members are collaborating on designing this next-generation digital transcript that provides relevant and verifiable information to institutions and employers. The outcome is an example of a modern, web-friendly learner record, structured yet flexible enough to meet the needs of learners, registrars, and employers. The vision for the learner record is transformative in its potential, beyond providing relevant student competencies and skills.
Grounded in IMS Global's work in digital credentials, the Comprehensive Learner Record closely follows developing guidance from AACRAO (registrars and admissions officers) and NASPA (student affairs professionals), while leveraging the IMS Open Badges and CASE standards and those of the W3C. The vision for the Comprehensive Learner Record is a secure, student-centered digital record that is future-ready and future-proof.
The PIVOT Project aims to provide outreach, resources, and demonstration projects to K-12 districts and schools to accelerate the adoption of the Comprehensive Learner Record as a better way to capture a complete picture of student competencies, skills, projects, and experiences from the earliest stages of learning in a truly equitable, secure and transferable digital transcript for the 21st century. The PIVOT Project will help schools assess their readiness for such a pivot, provide relationships and resources for implementations, and bring important constituencies from platform providers to Colleges to back the process collaboratively.

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Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange

Useful Links

Academic Standards Go Digital (Video by Infinite Campus)
The connecting tissue across IMS Global’s portfolio of digital credentials standards is the Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE®) standard. CASE provides a format for digitally expressing competency statements, learning outcomes, frameworks, and associated rubrics so that the broader ecosystem of digital credentials systems can easily access and integrate this information.
CASE provides educators a faster and more reliable way to align content with learning standards, find and share content from different sources, and support the transition to standards-based and competency-based learning.
CASE allows for the digital exchange of competency definitions between applications and systems. CASE eases the sharing of resources utilizing different learning standards by defining associations between sets of standards and competencies and by providing rubrics that contain performance level descriptions and scoring information and can be aligned to learning standards.

CASE provides a framework for provisioning and transmitting all of the following:

Competency Framework Document Icon

Competency Framework Documents - original competencies or academic standards documents
Competency Framework Item Icon Competency Framework Items - statements of what the learner will know and be able to do

Competency Framework Associations Icon

Competency Framework Associations - relationships between entire standard sets or individual standards and courses

Competency Framework Rubric Icon

Competency Framework Rubrics - instruments used to delineate performance expectations around a task, product or performance which may or may not be aligned to standards



Examples of CASE in Action

See how the Georgia Department of Education has documented a variety of academic standards using CASE and has visually expressed them using OpenSALT, an MIT-licensed competency management tool.

Collaborative Partnership

In May 2019, IMS and Credential Engine announced an agreement to advance standards for credentials and institutional data systems by building interoperability between IMS Global’s widely-adopted standards and Credential Engine’s Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL). In February 2020, Credential Engine completed its CASE certification as a consumer of an organization's CASE-based competency and skills frameworks. The ongoing partnership between IMS and Credential Engine demonstrates a continuing maturity in the credentials and skills marketplace.


In an era where micro-credentials, digital credentials, and new learning models like CBE are gaining traction, the work of the IMS Global community to re-imagine a new type of record to better serve students, universities, and employers is exhilarating! Developing a comprehensive, digital, student record to better articulate what students know and can do speaks to the needs of 21st century employers.

Joellen Shendy

Joellen Shendy

Associate Vice Provost & Registrar, University of Maryland University College

I believe the Open Badges standard has the power to help catalyze significant advancements in education technology. IMS Global's focus on interoperability makes it the perfect home for the standard and I’m excited to continue our work together with IMS to build a robust ecosystem for portable digital credentials.

Wayne Skipper

Wayne Skipper

CEO of Concentric Sky and head of the open source project Badgr

The Acclaim platform is Open Badges compliant and we continue to advocate for open, verified, learner-controlled credentials as we work with the world's leading learning organizations to grow the use of Open Badges. We are excited to support IMS Global as it ushers in a new era of leadership for the community and we look forward to further collaboration to enhance the technical specifications to advance the Open Badges ecosystem.

Jarin Schmidt

Jarin Schmidt

Chief Experience Officer, Credly

Digital Credentials Sponsors

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