An IT Think Tank’s Case for Separating Learning and Credentials

CHURCH AND STATE: Learning and credentials go hand-in-hand, but a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says it’s time to separate the two. The D.C.-based think tank says that colleges’ responsibility to educate students plus the power to grant them degrees creates little incentive for them to help students learn outside the classroom. The report, “Why It’s Time to Disrupt Higher Education by Separating Learning From Credentialing,” says that separating learning from credentialing would apply competitive pressure on higher-ed institutions to improve quality and reduce the costs of education.

ITIF calls on the federal government to create a “national network of certified organizations that assess the learning and skills of young people before they enter the workplace.” Such third-party accreditors exist for certain vocational occupations, such as welding, auto repair and law. The report also recommends that the federal government open up financial aid to alternative education options, such as MOOCs.

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