What are digital badges and what role do they play in credentialing?

With the growing and changing complexity of credentials, the way we demonstrate proficiency must change. Information is everywhere and learning can happen anytime. Traditional modes of assessment can’t keep up and capture the growth taking place.

Digital badges have provided an automated, secure, and cost-effective way of verifying that an achievement has been made. A digital badge is an indicator of an accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online. It is a visual representation of an achievement that can be embedded in different places. This powerful tool identifies and validates the rich array of individuals’ knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and competencies.

Digital badges are one part of the larger digital credentialing environment. There are lots of ways to recognize an achievement, and digital badges serve as one means to recognize learning or achievement and provide digital proof of that achievement.

What is the anatomy of the digital badge?

Digital badges are digital forms of any type of credential that shows proof of some kind of qualification, completion, clearance, or competence. They are digital versions of the traditionally paper credentials with an image-based design. The digital badges are just as verifiable as the paper version. Badges have meta-data to communicate details of the badge to anyone that wants to verify it. They contain the name of the individual, what the credential is for, who issued it, and when it expires. They also include how and when the badge was earned. Whenever possible, evidence of the work that went into earning the badge should be included as well.

What is the Open Badge Standard?

The Open Badge Standard addresses the issues of identity, verification, validity, and the ongoing management of badges. In order for a digital badge to be Open Badge Compliant, it needs to have the required meta-data. This includes the badge name, badge criteria, badge URL, issue date, issuer, and recipient. This information is hard-coded into the badge image file.  This links back to the data. Digital badges are not permanent. They can be deactivated after a period of time if needed. This might be necessary if skills need to be refreshed or yearly updates completed.

How should digital badges be used?

Badges can be used to motivate employees, set achievement goals, and communicate success in any organization. They can be used for many purposes such as passing an exam, completing a course, pathways to learning, and recognizing achievements. Many badges are stackable, which means that they can be credited toward an advanced badge, certificate, or degree.

As professional development becomes more learner-centered, badges provide a more personalized and flexible method for recognizing achievements.  Badges motivate employees to develop their skills and showcase their strengths. It provides a way for employers to recognize their employees’ achievements and boost self-esteem. All humans have the desire to achieve goals and feel valued. Digital badges help satisfy this need.

What are the benefits of using badges as part of an organization’s Competency Management?

  1. Digital badges allow businesses to maintain continuity. They provide a safe way to issue certificates and awards to those who have earned them.
  2. Brand awareness is increased when a successful candidate shares a badge. This helps promote that course and organization.
  3. Competence and reliability are established within the organization.
  4. Compliance is demonstrated. When employees have digital credentials to show they meet regulatory requirements, customers, suppliers, and partners can see that a company and its staff can be trusted.
  5. Digital badges allow employers to recruit and retain the best employees.

Digital badges inspire new paths to learn and connect learners to new opportunities. Successful organizations are developing core competencies and implementing cultures and philosophies that breed innovation. CABEM Technologies offer digital badges as documentation of achievements throughout the credentialing process. CABEM’s Competency Management software offers a variety of features that help organizations manage the competency of individuals by tracking credentials, storing documents, sending automated alerts, automating expirations and renewals, and conducting any training or assessments necessary.

Contact us today to learn how our competency management software can help you prove competency and award digital badges within your organization.  If you would like to learn more, please visit our website and schedule a call today.