I had a couple of long dog walks today, trying to clear a head full of cold, and as I was wandering I started pondering a qualifications equivalent of something like the Google Health Data API; that is, a “Qualifications Data API” that could be used to share information about the qualifications you have achieved.
A little dig around turned up the Schools Interoperability Framework, a bloated affair that tries to capture all manner of schools related personal data, although that’s not to say that a subset of the SIF wouldn’t be appropriate for capturing and sharing qualifications. And all the security gubbins covered in the spec might provide a useful guide as to what could be expected trying to actually build the API for real (the Google Health Data API also covers security and privacy issues).
I also came across an old mapping between various UK educational levels of attainment frameworks (UK Educational Levels (UKEL)) which I put to one side much as one might put aside a particularly distinctive jigsaw piece, (under the assumption that any formal qualifications described in a qualifications data API could probably be usefully mapped to an appropriate, standardised attainment level); a similar thing at a European level Bologna Process – Qualifications Framework and ECTS) – which got me wondering whether the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has a standard XML format for recording qualifications attained by an individual?;and a simple XML format for Uploading Qualifications and Statements of Attainment to the CQR from some Australian Training Agency or other:
|RTONationalID||The Registered Training Organisation
National Code. Either this National Code or the State Code below must
be present and valid.
|RTOStateID||The Registered Training Organisation
State Code. Either this State or the National Code above must be present
|CourseNationalID||The National Course Code for the Course
the Student completed. Either this National Code or the State Code below
must be present and valid.
|CourseStateID||The State Course Code for the Course
the Student completed. Either this State Code or the National Code above
must be present and valid.
|StudentID||The Student’s identity number / code.
|StudentFirstName||The Student’s First Name. Required.|
|StudentLastName||The Student’s Last Name. Required.|
|StudentMiddleName||The Student’s Middle Name. Optional|
|StudentDOB||The Student’s Date of Birth. Optional.
Format is: DD-MMM-YYYY. eg. 03-JAN-1976
|ContractID||ID for the Student’s Contract if apprentice
or trainee. Optional.
Format is: 9999/99
|ParchmentNo||A unique number / code that appears
on the Parchment / Certificate. Optional.
|IssueDate||Date the Qualification was Issued. Required.
Format is: DD-MMM-YYYY. eg. 27-MAR-2004
(This sort of thing would also naturally benefit from an association with details about a particular course pulled in from an XCRI course description…)
Looking at the above format, it struck me that a far more general “Open Achievements API” might actually be something quite useful. As well as describing formal awards, it could also optionally refer to informal achievements, or “trust measures” such as eBay seller rating, Amazon reviewer rank, World of Warcraft level or Grockit experience points.
In a sense, an Open Achievements API could complement the Google Open Social API with a range of claims a person might choose to make about themself that could be verified to a greater or lesser degree. The Open Acheivements API would therefore have to associate with each claimed achievement a “provenance”, that could range from “personal claim” through to some sort of identifier for securing an “official”, SSL transported verification from the body that presumably awarded the claimed acheievement (such as a particular formal qualification, for example).
By complementing Open Social, the Open Achievements API would provide a transport mechanism for associating CV information within a particular profile, as well as personal and social information. If it was supported by informal learning environments, such as the School of Everything, OpenLearn, or SocialLearn, it would allow informal learners to badge themselves with a portable record of their learning achievements (much as OU students can do with the Course Profiles Facebook Application).