Comprehensive Learner Record
Frequently Asked Questions

For All Audiences



What is a Comprehensive Learner Record, or CLR?

Does a CLR replace a traditional academic transcript?

What’s the relationship between Open Badges and CLR?

How is a CLR different from an LER?

How is the CLR related to a W3C Verifiable Credential?



What is a Comprehensive Learner Record, or CLR?

CLR stands for Comprehensive Learner Record—an open data standard from IMS Global Learning Consortium, a non-profit dedicated to lifelong learning. The CLR is a standard way to describe and share learning-related plans, achievements, skills, and milestones over a person’s lifetime. An individual will have multiple CLRs, one from each learning organization. It’s the common standard that makes CLR records interoperable, and because the records are in digital form, they can be protected from unauthorized change and verified. This means the recipients can rely on the validity of the data. The records themselves are initiated by schools, colleges, the military, or employers and available for the individual learner or worker to share throughout their education and career.


Does a CLR replace a traditional academic transcript?

The CLR outright 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).”

The main use case for the CLR is a record for the learner to share their verifiable achievements and skills with others in a secure form, allowing for selection and 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.

IMS publishes the Open Badges and CLR standards. Open Badges was originally developed by the Mozilla Foundation and transferred to IMS stewardship in 2016.

Educators designed the CLR to record more about learning achievements than is possible with a digital badge. CLR 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 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 with links that can provide additional information about the badge or achievement.


How is a CLR different from an LER?

The term Comprehensive Learner Record was first used by Lumina Foundation to represent the capabilities of learner-controlled and worker-controlled credentials. This concept is also referred to as a learner and employment record (LER).

CLR is the formally published data standard that implements learning and employment records in education and workforce domains. The IMS CLR is the only formally published schema for learner and worker achievement records available today.

The CLR has been selected by AACRAO as its official standard for digital learner records.

The term LER has been used in projects that combine a standard from the W3C called the Verifiable Credential and a variety of other data payloads that can include the CLR.


How is the CLR related to a W3C Verifiable Credential?

CLR defines the content (also called a payload or schema) that may be delivered through a Verifiable Credential (VC). The CLR is one type of content in a VC. Other types may be drivers’ licenses, passports, or other digital forms of credentials a person may receive and want to manage.

The VC anticipates the use of blockchain-based security and is primarily concerned with guaranteeing 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 technology to provide verification, interoperability, or learner control; it is not reliant on W3C VC technology, but it can be used with VC.

  • The CLR standard supports verification of the record as a whole as well as verification of each individual achievement assertion in the package.
  • Certified CLR APIs exchange CLR data using industry-standard authentication and authorization, such as OAuth from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).