In the current digital world, knowledge and information can be obtained from any platform be it digital or analog. We must aid this knowledge to quantify our skill-set and demonstrate our proficiency. Digital badges in one such way to recognise learners achievements and help further in a career path.

A Guide to Digital Badges: Explore How The Credentialing Market Is Changing

In the current digital world, obtaining knowledge and information is no uphill battle. Constant upgradation and acquiring knowledge to quantify our skill set are critical to demonstrate our proficiency. A digital badge is one such way to recognize learners’ achievements and help further in a career path.
If the digital badge is an alien term to you, stick to the blog to find out what it is, how it helps, and why it has piqued the interest of the institutions.

An Introduction to Digital Badges

A digital badge is the digital representation of learners’ achievement which consists of the organization’s accreditation, the recipient’s name, earning criteria, and validation for the qualified skill.
Many people confuse digital badges and digital certificates as the same. They might be similar but not the same. From the reason behind awarding them to the graphics and representation of badges & certificates, everything highly varies.
Still not sure?
Let’s find out the definition of digital badges & digital certificates:

Digital Badges

In the simplest term, digital badges indicate short-scale accomplishments over a short period. The claims made in the badges are easy to verify, display and assess.
It’s a new idea that has gained popularity since training institutes and organizations were not sure of how to distinguish a long-term accomplishment from a short-term one. The hiring companies were also facing obstacles while choosing candidates for open positions.
Digital badges come with mapped metadata. Wondering what it is? The metadata contains details related to the issuing organization, proof of the awardee’s competence and excellence in bagging the skill, the date of award allocation, and the validity of the badge.
There is no restriction on how you want to use digital badges. Whether you want to showcase it on your Linkedin profile or just want to add the link to the badge in your e-portfolio, you have the freedom to do it your way. Regardless of the way you showcase it, the badges heavily influence professional growth.

Digital Certificates

Digital certificates or e-certificates are documents offered by institutions and organizations to students/applicants to demonstrate their expertise in certain subjects/fields. Verifiable certificates are common to recognize one’s expertise in a broad range of topics rather than a short segment. E-certificates contain information about the awardee’s earning criteria, skills, knowledge, the issuing organization logo & name, and the validity of the certificate. Similar to verifiable badges, verifiable certificates are also easy to upload on job portals and socially shareable.
As we are now aware of the difference between open badges and digital certificates, it’s time to dive deep into the discussion of:

What is Digital Badge, How They Work, And Why You Should Use Them

What can be the best way than awarding a trust badge to incumbents to acknowledge their mastery in a discipline? Credentials can shift the career graph for the better. Digital proofs do wonders when assigned by reputed, credible organizations with all the crucial details in them.
The global pandemic has changed the face of the digital world making it more learner-centered. Digital badges allow flexibility in learning multiple career pathways, accomplishing multiple tasks and projects, completing short courses, filling the portfolio gap by learning hard skills and soft skills, and also gaining hands-on verified experience of it.
Open badges became popular since online courses became mainstream. Covid-19 shifted the entire learning & development sector by transferring the complete market online. The institutions that were offering paper certificates during the offline sessions were facing serious challenges when the online mode became the only solution. But the struggle was short-lived as digital credentials replaced the traditional certificates. Since then there is no going back for open badges. They are everywhere. From IT organizations to training institutes, everyone is offering them to course participants.
Digital badges can be displayed across all digital platforms like social media channels, resumes, and online portfolios. It can also be used as an email signature or can be uploaded on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook.

Open Badges

Open Badges, founded by Mozilla in 2011, is neither a product nor a platform but a type of digital badge that comes with a set of standards to verify the authenticity of the badge.
Open badges are backed by metadata that authenticates the badge anatomy including, the issuer, the recipient, the date of issue, its validity period, evidence, badge description, and digital signature.
Open badges also have storage for multiple badges earned called a ‘backpack’. A backpack with open badges displays all the badges earned by one person and can be shared on digital platforms. It makes it easier for employers to access and verify the credentials collectively.
In this digital era, we all trust documents that we can check online, verify online, and share online. Such is the quality of trust badges that their influence becomes unavoidable and non-negotiable.
A recent study by McKinsey shows an 11% increase in online courses from online universities. The growth of e-learning programs is a tell-tale sign of the power online education holds over students. The rise of edtech also signifies the popularity of digital badges. When students from one corner of the globe are enrolled in a university or college located in a different corner of the globe, offering paper certificates is a no-go.
However, many tend to cover up this gap by supplying simple PDF certificates. It’s also of no use as forging PDF documents is easy. Using hi-tech tools, even a novice can indulge in such malpractices.
The organizations or institutions that get tangled in certificate forgery cases heavily suffer due to tumbling trustworthiness. Partnering with a digital badge management platform is the only foolproof move that can save an institute from such setbacks.
When an organization invests in open badges, fraudulent credentialing becomes impossible. There remains no way to forge institute details and the institution reflects a positive brand image. Promoting themselves also becomes simpler for corporations. The badges come with editable header and footer sections where issuing organizations can include their names and logos.
The entire digital badge creation, issuing, and delivery process becomes seamless.

Time to jump into the discussion on the impact of verifiable badges on students & employees

As digital badges are one of the most talked about features of educational institutions and organizations, they are also playing a vital role in student and employee engagement.
The secure, verifiable badges protect the institute’s information while also delivering value to the student, employees, and organizations alike. From easily shareable via email or online sites to trusted demonstration of skills & knowledge, the benefits of trust badges are endless.
Based on the platform selection, awardees can store all their verifiable credentials in a single account or portfolio. It streamlines the credentialing process for the students/recipients.
The ease of sharing the badges over 40+ social media platforms or the simple way to add the badge on Linkedin makes it perfect for showcasing among the professional sphere. Social sharing plays a crucial role in being visible to the targeted audience. For a potential employee, an online demonstration of badges can help him/her connect with company HRs. A student with a badge listed on his/her social account can be found by the best institutes around the globe for further studies.
The badges take earners to places where they might not have reached without verifiable credentials. The documents connect them to a wider network of like-minded professionals. The availability of verifiable data on their credentials enables them to appear authentic and credible.

Digital Badges For Organizations & Individuals

Digital badges change the game for issuing organizations and hiring institutions.
Students enrolled in a course or program in issuing organizations receive trust badges to flaunt their perfection in certain session modules. As the badges are socially shareable, choosing a white-label credentialing plan offers the upper hand to organizations in their marketing tactics.
A white-label certification plan allows the institutes to add their organization name & logo in the header and footer of the credentials. Thus, the more shares the badges receive, the more the institute receives recognition and brand presence.

Along with this, the organization also receives a round of applause for investing in a platform that leaves no stone unturned to ensure badge safety and security. The institute enjoys recognition among employees, students, applicants, and audiences for its authenticity and unbending will to secure information. As the badges also unleash more opportunities for awardees, a greater number of students/employees prefer institutes that offer verifiable credentials over traditional certificates. Thus, student/employee engagement skyrockets for the organization.

Are Digital Badges And Micro-Credentials The Same?

It’s a question similar to the discussion we had at the beginning of the blog, are digital badges and digital certificates the same?
Just like the previous answer, this time the answer is no as well.
Though digital badges and micro-credentials are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. They might be similar, but the difference needs discussion:
Micro-credentials are miniature versions of credentials, whereas digital badges are a variation of verifiable credentials. Micro-credentials are ideal for recognizing small-scale success or acquiring knowledge in short courses, whereas digital badges are visual representations of the proof of knowledge obtained.
A trust badge doesn’t only bring a pretty picture to the table, it unlocks new doors of opportunity. The metadata mapping of open badges includes details associated with earning criteria of the badge, skills learned, issuing date, and longevity.

No matter which credentialing tool you opt for, slapping a badge with fraudulent certification details is not possible anymore. The digital version of paper documents comes with stringent monitoring features that can easily trace every change (even the most minute one). The tamper-proof nature of digital documents makes them perfect for all sorts of communication between clients and organizations.

Along with educational institutes, a large number of government agencies and financial institutions have also embraced digital credentials to keep communication inaccessible and safe.

It is not far-fetched to say that digital documents will be the standard credentialing system soon. The automated issuing and delivery, ease of business promotion, and time to focus on other essential organizational duties make credentialing platforms one of the fastest-growing businesses.

Issuing a Digital Badge

Digital badges can be issued by an organization through digital credentials or badging platforms. These platforms may have their own set of criteria to issue, design and verify the badge credentials.

The process of issuing a digital badge includes:

  • Criteria of the digital badge
  • Setting a course or a training program
  • Evaluating the program based on level progress and score
  • Determining what skills need to be recognized in the badge
  • Designing the badge using a digital credential platform

Digital badges bring a list of advantages to incumbents:
Demonstration of verified skills
In the modern days, anyone can claim themselves as an industry expert. Designing a forged credential has become pretty simple. Such fraudulent practices not only hinder the much-deserved candidate from being chosen by organizations, but also slow down business operations.

To handle the situation with ease and efficiency, potential employers give weightage to candidates who can showcase verifiable badges and credentials. A click is enough to find out the legitimacy of the educational claims one makes.
The badges also influence how the hiring industry views a candidate.

Hiring institutes look for the best brains and the most qualified individuals. How do you determine whether someone is the best-matched candidate for an open position or not? The integrated information on the badge reveals how fit an applicant is for the role.

As open badges are Linkedin-integrated, checking the open positions in your field of expertise is simple.

Digital badges give the freedom to store verifiable credentials wherever the organization wants to stock them. Whether an institute sticks to a particular credentialing platform or not, the open badges remain accessible. The credential management platforms follow a protocol where they leverage the power of owning the badges to the organizations. The issuing institute remains in charge of the badges rather than the issuer.

Adding A Digital Badge To Linkedin

Showcasing a digital badge on Linkedin is fuss-free.

  • You can directly upload from your email address using the ‘add to Linkedin’ option that comes with the credential.
  • Or you can also go to your Linkedin profile > Licenses & certifications > ‘+’ > upload the badge

Final Thoughts

Digital badges positively dominate branding & marketing strategies of issuing organizations, mitigate risks, reduce credentialing costs & manual labor, save time and allow institutions to focus on other essentials, enable students to showcase their skills, be globally accepted, and offer improved insights into the job market and students activity related to the credentials.

CertifyMe is a new-age digital credentialing platform that delivers digital certificates, open badges, and micro-credentials. You can check their credentialing plans here and collaborate with them for a streamlined certification process.

Talk to the experts of CertifyMe or you can check the demo to gear up a foolproof credentialing solution!