Consider this analogy: Use skills and their methods and applications to define learning like we use atoms to define substances. Learning labels is a system for tracking and managing skills. Four good reasons why we should use this framework to define learning:

Continuity. Skills work vertically across education and career stages. People constantly work on social, thinking, and transferable skills and choose to work on specific technical skills as they pursue interests or careers.

Multi-Disciplinary. Skills work horizontally across subjects and disciplines; always possible to reference skills acquired in experiences. For example, a primary skill in higher education is to teach learners to think critically – regardless of their chosen field of study. Makes sense to target critical thinking (on a learning label) in many tasks in a typical degree.

Inclusivity. Skills work at all spectrums of development: from special needs (like autism) to highly gifted. Skills help to understand how best to place those with special needs into middle skilled jobs. Across all spectrums, learning labels support personalized learning.

Practicality. The most important part of a LinkedIn profile, resume, e-portfolio, or personal website is the skills section. These sections directly list skills and validate them. In an abstract way, the true embodiment of these education and career artifacts is about signifying your skills.

The main objective is to communicate what skills you have, what level of accomplishment, and demonstrating them. For example, an author provides writing samples, a programmer shows videos of applications, a lawyer links to cases worked on, an engineer shares a project, and so on.

To conclude, these are three of my quotes: “Skills are the verb of knowledge” … “Skills are the language of learning.” … “Every experience is an opportunity to apply skills”. Let’s get defining tasks and experiences with learning labels.