Learning is evolving and moving towards a flexible, more customizable format. Students and professionals today need multiple skills in a less amount of time. Learning opportunities are not just limited to classrooms. You can learn at work, or in some workshops you volunteer, on social media. Now, let’s pan to traditional mode of learning, it will not take into cognizance these skills. They will not award you recognition or certificates. But then, you are a budding professional or a student already pursuing a full time course. In all probabilities you may not have ample time or other resources to enroll for traditional courses.
We learn many skills as hobby or passion and not end up having a stackable certificate for it. The concept of digital badges comes as a savior here. Over the years online courses and certifications have opened up an avenue that is beyond the structured traditional format of learning. It allows you to discover new learning opportunities on a regular basis and is focused on specific skill sets.
It was the year 2010 when Mozilla and MacArthur pointed out a major lag if non-traditional and flexible learning opportunities are not recognized. Without digital credentials how will a professional or a student showcase and set an objective parameter of the skills sets that are learnt over time, under alternative learning sources. Erin Knight led the Open Badges movement that created tokens of accomplishment that was industry leaders verified.
Mozilla came up with Open Badges in 2013 backed by industry support and grants for research. The same year saw companies investing in badges online. It went on to get support from Clinton Global and impacts the future of about 2 million professionals and students in US. The next year, 2014 saw the formation of Badge Alliance that brought standardization through companies and across industries. The major push of recognition came in 2015 when companies like Microsoft and IBM put up a pro Open Badge stance, appreciating and recognizing digital tokens and badges.
These badges represent a person’s expertise in a particular skill. The criteria to get these credential badges is set by industry experts and leaders after a thorough analysis of skill sets. These badges are stackable and can showcase your skills and competency pathway. It creates your professional portfolio and journey based on skill sets.
Verifiability is the biggest bonus of these badges. When you get digital badges the metadata created cannot be erased. You can track the specifications and the exact skill set that you possess to get the badge. A traditional certificate will describe the degree, but not go into details. These badges allow you to have a complete picture of your skill sets.
Badges are pro-learning and they encourage active learning. It motivates you to spend time in learning new skills. So, the software you learnt as a part of office work can be an ample consideration for credential badges. It allows you to have stackable certification for your interests beyond the traditional degree or education that you have.