The Promise of Digital Badges for Continuing Professional Development
October 1, 2015 |
3 min read
At a time in the global job economy when employers report receiving upwards of 30 applications for every job posted, it is more essential than ever to put in the work of earning - and maintaining - professional certifications and skills that will set you apart. Equally important? Managing those competencies in a way that is easily shareable and verifiable. Digital badges are being leveraged by top companies across the world as a means for representing the continuing professional development of their employees, partners and certificants.
What are digital badges?
Badges represent skills and achievements earned by an individual through specific projects, professional experiences and academic endeavors. Badges are a combination of image and metadata uniquely assigned to an individual. They can be verified in real-time. Badges offer a standardized, digital method for quickly, easily defining:
- Who did something worthwhile
- Who confers recognition to that person
- What exactly was done to earn recognition
Who benefits from badges?
Individual workers, organizations and entire industries can benefit from badges. Badges are a new form of currency - a more transparent and efficient way to communicate the acquisition and development of workplace skills. Why is this level of communication for continuing professional development important?
In a recent article on Fast Company, founder and CEO of educational tech company Degreed David Blake was quoted as saying,”You learn in higher education for two, four, six years. You learn in a professional context for 30 or 40 years. We need a better way to capture that and make all learning matter.”
As a professional in the workforce, learning never stops. But so often the outcomes of that learning - whether through a traditional series of courses, a workshop or an online class - go unrecognized. From the same Fast Company article, Peter Janzow, director and badging lead for Acclaim, stated, “We’re all going to be lifelong learners; we need to get credit for that in a way that’s demonstrable.” Badges unlock formal and informal learning activities and makes them definable, shareable and verifiable in a way unlike anything before.
Easy sharing, verification prove invaluable
From AXELOS to Microsoft, IBM to Oracle, many leading companies have adopted digital badges as a form of recognition for continuing professional development and certifications. The individuals who earn these badges enthusiastically share them to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other online destinations. Once shared, anyone can verify the authenticity of and learn more about the individual’s abilities. That shareability and verification can make all the difference in a competitive job market, whether an individual aspires to move ahead in her current position or move into a different job.
See AXELOS Professional Development Programme section for more information about digital badges and continuing professional development.
Do you or your organization currently use digital badges to record professional achievements? Do you see digital badges as a valuable way of demonstrating skills and experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.