Degreed is a new company in the ed tech space–just recently in beta–that aims to aggregate and compile learning experiences, whether submitted by a user themself or perhaps by an official certificate (degree, diploma, badge, whatever) provider. The accumulation of learning experiences could be organized to reflect learning, experience, and achievement in a more holistic, deep, and meaningful way than formal institutions typically provide. The real appeal of Degreed is in the idea that it might provide credentials for informal or even simply incidental learning experiences–you know, the kind of learning that we do everyday, often without thinking about it, outside of an organized classroom setting.
So that’s the pain Degreed is trying to address: people need evidence of both formal and informal learning in order to bolster their career success.
It’s not really a new idea–schools, both accredited and degree-mills– have tried to address this by certifying “life experience”, invariably at a cost.
Interestingly, this concept is not too far removed from the concept of certain xMOOCs, which do provide learning experiences, but ultimately, certification does not necessarily require participation, and may simply be based upon assessment of your ability (a looser, but similarly inspired form of outcomes-based assessment). Tangent: Ira Glass discussed the challenge of assessing broad learning over time in last week’s This American Life where James Heckman asks if a GED–the high school equivalency exam–is a true indication of high school learning?)
It’s a daunting task, but after simply signing up for the Degreed beta experience I was fairly impressed at how much information they’d been able to accumulate on my formal learning experiences just from my Facebook account. There weren’t a lot of details on the coursework (how could there be without a transcript?), and no actual degrees transferred in, but it wasn’t a bad start:
Degreed also lets you add courses from institutions, and suggest new institutions to include. It doesn’t currently support transcript upload in any format (though presumably Degreed will have some method of requesting transcripts–probably at a fee–from the accrediting university).It doesn’t look like there are a lot of ways to inject informal learning, though badge support seems imminent.
How Degreed plans to business model this project is unclear. I would presume they will offer “premium” accounts, or charge for publishing of credentials, or perhaps transcript transfer into or out of the system. They might even facilitate some kind of assessment and certification process for measuring informal and life experiences.