“Digital Badges: The Proof that Communicates Skills” - Your Questions Answered Part 2
Creating and implementing a digital credentialing program in the Higher Ed space can be difficult to navigate without the right resources. Oftentimes, we get asked a lot of meaningful, thoughtful questions about where to begin, either online or in-person at events. During our recent webinar, “Digital Badges: The Proof that Communicates Skills,” our panelists shed some light on why the use of microcredentials are so critical to the success of students and employers. Here are some of the highlights, answered from Brenda Perea, Director of Education & Workforce Strategies at Credly.
Q: What does the process look like to create and implement a badging program?
A: Great question. Here’s an example of what worked at CCCS:
In the Spring of 2017, one of our colleges in the CCCS system had an employer who wanted Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Manufacturing training for his employees, and specifically asked that digital badges be part of the training. The college’s Executive Director of Workforce and Community Programs worked with the employer on developing the curriculum, and put in the request for a series of nine badges. The committee asked the Executive Director to revise the badge request so that the badge competencies, assessment and evidence could be utilized by all thirteen colleges, in their own programs. Remember: the governance document very specific guidelines that any badge issuer must agree to all of the metadata in the badge, including the need to replicate the assessment and evidence described in the metadata. Why did the taskforce build that into the governance document? To avoid badge comparison and competition, and more importantly, employer confusion over the value of badge issued by the separate colleges. Once the revisions were completed and the badges were approved, they were built by the system office available for all colleges to use.
Q: How is a badge turned into a generally accepted "currency?”
A: To reference the example above, the framework and governance documents were not created in the vacuum of the higher education space. The original digital badge initiative task force included administrators, faculty, and student support advisors from each of our thirteen colleges and included members of our colleges’ business advisory council who vetted the framework and governance documents. The employers in the business advisory council were the ones who vetoed one of the levels, proficiency, in the proposed badge hierarchy. They clearly stated that they expected all students who are in our programs to perform at a proficient level and badges should only show performance beyond a basic proficiency. Additionally, by including employers in our task force, they became badge champions and ambassadors out in their respective industries. When new badges in manufacturing are proposed, employers are called on to give us feedback, and they expect a review on whether the badges will be useful to earners, badge consumer and ultimately be worth the time the system invests in creating the badge. The value of the badge is determined by the relationship between the badge issuer, earner and consumer. With the tightly controlled badge development, the system avoids badge pollution and the earner, and employer understand that the ongoing relationship between how the badges are developed and vetted by the employers reinforces that value outside the institution. The relationship between our institution, the badge earner and the badge consumer which establishes the value of the new currency of digital badges.
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