Published on 2022/01/25

Wellspring: Accelerating the Learner-to-Earner Ecosystem

The first step to giving learners control over their education history and credentials is to establish the necessary infrastructure.
The first step to giving learners control over their education history and credentials is to establish the necessary infrastructure.

Wellspring is a multi-year initiative of the 1EdTech Foundation and IMS Global Learning Consortium that aims to accelerate the adoption of an education-to-work ecosystem based on open technology standards. Wellspring envisions an environment where educators and employers collaborate on curricula and assessments focused on outcomes and skills, where learners control their knowledge and skills-based achievements in secure and verifiable digital credentials, and employers can find highly qualified talent based on an individual’s verifiable credentials.

Further, Wellspring aims to establish proof points through research, practice and demonstration as a roadmap for talent ecosystem stakeholders to achieve digital transformation based upon proven open standards. The 1EdTech Foundation acknowledges the generous financial support for this work from the Charles Koch Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.

Why open standards? Because a person’s learning and skills-based achievements should be controlled by them and not held hostage in a proprietary system. Open, published standards such as IMS Global’s Open Badges, CLR Standard and CASE provide the means for a learner and a worker to organize, curate and present their verifiable achievements to find a job or a better job. 

Wellspring Phase II consists of three related projects designed to develop knowledge on:

  • The use of competency and skills frameworks to enhance collaboration between educators and employers on academic program requirements
  • Employer perceptions and their readiness to adopt skills framework and digital credentials in their hiring processes and workflows
  • Demonstrating the use of digital credentials based on open standards for better hiring of job candidates based on their verifiable achievements

The 1EdTech Foundation invited experts in the field to join its efforts led by IMS Global. Naomi Boyer, Ph.D, Senior Director, Skills and Data Ecosystem at Education Design Lab managed the project Collaborating on Competency Frameworks and authored its report along with six case studies that explore the powerful opportunities and practical challenges related to digitally transforming learning outcomes and skills.

Sean Gallagher, Ed.D., Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy and Executive Professor of Educational Policy at Northeastern University, conducted primary research involving 750 U.S.-based businesses and authored the report Digital Credentials & Competency Frameworks: Exploring Employer Readiness and Use in Talent Management.

Finally, the third project developed by the IMS Global team produced demonstration software that shows a digital credentials ecosystem in action. The three software apps demonstrate an organization recording achievements on behalf of an individual, an individuals’ collecting achievements in their digital wallet and a talent search and selection app that uses digital credentials and skills frameworks for better, low-biased hiring. The demonstration software is intended to raise awareness among employers, educators and other stakeholders as to what’s possible with the use of open standards and stimulate action in the commercial edtech and jobtech software markets to provide innovative digital solutions based on open standards that empower learners and earners to control their data and truly leverage their personal, educational and professional achievements in this digital world.

A summary of Wellspring Phase II can be found here. In addition, the Wellspring project leaders will be presenting and demonstrating the work at the 6th annual IMS Digital Credentials Summit to be held in Atlanta Feb 28-Mar 2. Join and network with the leaders in digital credentials and skills transformation. Bridge the Gap.

Click here for more information about the Wellspring Initiative.

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