Cities of Learning (CofL) is a new place-based approach to enhancing lifelong learning through digitally connecting individuals to learning, employment and civic opportunities within a defined locality.

It was first established in the US – and has been introduced to the UK by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and a digital credentialing organisation called Digitalme.

Together they have been working with three cities to develop blueprints, skills spines and a digital platform prototype to demonstrate how the CofL model can enrich the lives and prospects of city inhabitants, through connecting learning pathways to city-wide opportunities.

The programme creates new pathways into learning and employment by connecting and amplifying formal, informal, and in work learning opportunities that exist across Cities via a system of digital open badges.

Open badges become a new 'currency' for learning in a place, recognising the knowledge and skills gained through participation in different activities (online and offline).

The programme recognises that “Learners of all ages and backgrounds have hidden skills, talents and interests that often aren’t recognised by the broader education system. Many also lack knowledge about the variety of learning and work opportunities available in their local area, and an understanding about how to access these.

“Cities of Learning aims to connect different learning experiences across localities and places to enable learners to see new pathways to opportunity which may not have been visible to them previously.”

See Cities of Learning in the UK: a place-based approach to enhancing lifelong learning and access to enrichment opportunities and Cities of Learning UK