Open Badges and Comprehensive Learner Record Standard
Frequently Asked Questions

For All Audiences



What’s the relationship between Open Badges and the CLR Standard?

What is a Comprehensive Learner Record, or CLR?

How is a CLR different from an LER?

Does a CLR replace a traditional academic transcript?

How do the CLR and Open Badges relate to Verifiable Credentials from W3C?



What is a Comprehensive Learner Record, or CLR?

CLR stands for Comprehensive Learner Record—a free and open standard from 1EdTech Consortium, a non-profit dedicated to lifelong learning. The CLR Standard is a consistent way to structure and share learning-related pathways, achievements, skills and milestones in an academic and employment setting, over a person’s lifetime. An individual will have multiple CLRs, one from each issuing organization they learn within. It’s the use of the common standard that makes CLR records interoperable, and because the records are in digital form, they can be protected from unauthorized change and digitally verified - this means the recipients can rely on the authenticity of the contents. The records themselves are initiated by schools, colleges, the military, or employers and available for the individual learner or worker to securely share throughout their education and career. The 1EdTech CLR Standard has been selected by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) as the recommended standard for lifetime learning records. 

How is a CLR different from an LER?

The CLR Standard is a formally published and implementable specification available for adoption by technology providers today. LER is the term used to describe the concept that CLR Standard implements. 

The term Comprehensive Learner Record was first used by Lumina Foundation to represent the capabilities of verified, individually-controlled digital credentials. 1EdTech had been working at the time on a digital extended transcript and adopted the widely accepted CLR term for its data standard. Later as the concepts of digital credentials began to gain broader interest, the term Learning and Employment Record (LER) was popularized.   Put briefly, the CLR Standard is the implementable form of LER's. The 1EdTech CLR Standard is the only formally published specification for learner-worker achievement records available today and has been selected by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers as the official standard for digital learner records.

Does a CLR replace a traditional academic transcript?

The CLR does not replace a traditional academic transcript but can support it.

According to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), “New forms of student records are emerging that do not replace traditional academic transcripts but are focused on and capture information that demonstrates evidence of learning while pursuing a college education that cannot be represented by the information on courses, credits, and grades carried on these traditional transcripts. CLRs represent a much wider picture of student learning and recognize that learning occurs in various settings. Such learning may come from academic courses, competency-based instruction, or co-curricular or experiential learning supervised by the college or university (examples include research projects, internships, global education, leadership in clubs or organizations, service learning, etc.). These have been known as extended transcripts (an early label that was somewhat quickly abandoned to avoid confusion with traditional academic transcripts), comprehensive student records, and most recently, comprehensive learner records (CLR).”

A main use case for the CLR is as a record of achievements for the learner-worker to share verifiable accomplishments and skills with others in a secure form, even allowing for selection and content curation without alteration.


What’s the relationship between Open Badges and CLR?

Open Badges are a visual form of recognition easily shareable on the web, for example, via social media.

Badges are one type of achievement that can be included within a Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR); there are many others. 1EdTech publishes both the Open Badges and CLR standards. Open Badges was originally developed by the Mozilla Foundation and transferred to 1EdTech stewardship in 2016. Educators designed the CLR to record more context about learning achievements and the learning journey than is possible with a digital badge. CLR Standard provides the opportunity to contextualize learning achievements and assessment outcomes within a specific program, credential, or sequence of learning activities as in a pathway.

CLR-based achievements can be associated with each other to communicate inter-relationships, such as in a hierarchy required for program scaffolding or stackable microcredentials working toward a degree. Both Open Badges and CLR-based achievements can be aligned to external frameworks using the 1EdTech CASE standard, using web links that can provide additional information about the achievement.


How do the CLR and Open Badges relate to Verifiable Credentials from W3C?

Open Badges 3.0 and CLR 2.0 are designed as Verifiable Credentials based on the published W3C standard. OB and the CLR Standard define specific data contents related to learner-worker achievements which are packaged in a format prescribed by the W3C that is consistent across domains like health care, travel documents, drivers licenses and education and work achievements. The CLR is one type of VC, Open Badges is another. Verifiable credentials are high level packaging standard (like an envelope) that contains data governed by other standards (like a letter within the envelope).  

A VC may use blockchain-based methods to ensure the authenticity of ownership of its contents when a digital document is presented to a 3rd party. The CLR specification does not require any additional standard or technology to provide verification, interoperability or learner-worker control; it is not reliant on W3C VC but it can be contained within a Verfiable Credential. In the 2nd half of 2022, CLR 2.0 and Open Badges 3.0 will be published as native Verifiable Credentials.