In preparation for our DML V Trust Challenge Workshop held at DML 2015 Conference, we asked grantees to answer three questions that we planned to workshop as part of a larger design exercise. The following represent the questions and answers provided by Building Connected Credentials.
1. How does your project change or contribute to the narrative around trust in the larger conversation?
Connected Learning requires that players within a student's personal learning ecology value one another's contributions and can assess and validate them properly. But fundamental distrust exists between the varied players—schools, industry and informal learning organizations—when it comes to believing that learners are adequately equipped with the skills and knowledge required to apply what they've learned in other settings. Building Connected Credentials addresses this gap in assessment, knowledge and trust by seeking to create a portfolio of co-designed assessments and rubrics that make skills transparent and provide ecosystem players with feedback.
2. What challenges do you foresee as you implement your project, and what might others in the DML community be able to offer in the way of support or solutions?
When working with schools there is a priority given to school processes and methodologies. This project risks an over-emphasis on academic skills and school credit as the preferred way to assess outcomes for youth and ascertain the successful acquisition of skills. While this project asserts the importance and primacy of informal learning organizations in preparing youth with 21century skills, it is difficult to develop a trusted assessment and/or credential that has credibility across learning ecosystems players and spaces.
The DML community can provide examples of case studies, experiences and partnerships where partners and players have built cross-organizations or cross-sector assessments or credentials.
3. What do you foresee the impact of your project will be once it is implemented (particularly in terms of the conversation around trust)?
We're still working through scenarios for possible outcomes but It is our hope to create a viable delivery and support system for a portfolio of high-quality applied learning activities (performance tasks as our school partners define) that can be done in school, out-of-school and at internship/employment sites. These will act as trusted assessments enabling the transparent sharing of skills and the creation and facilitation of meaningful cross-ecosystem assessments. The impact of this initiative would be the co-creation of projects and activities that could be done by anyone in a connected learning space, thereby leveling the playing field and creating a common language and equal value across partners.
If the abovemention scenario does not work, we have considered creating a small governing body of in-school educators that can validate and assess quality out-of-school programs as exemplars of Hive Learning Network expertise in the teaching of 21c skills and technical competencies.