One of the most important offerings that a company has is their expertise, which is why skills increasingly are becoming the new global currency. And while many people have heard of badging and micro-credentialing, they may not completely understand what these terms mean or how this process works in the broader context of skills development. In this blog post, we’ll cover what we learned about badging and micro-credentialing from a recent webinar where PwC showcased their global badging program.
What is badging?
Let’s start with the badge itself—which is a visible, shareable, and portable digital record that recognizes newly acquired knowledge and skills. And they're more than just a pretty graphic. They’re filled with rich information that’s inclusive of what someone did to earn that badge. This includes what was learned, how it was learned, what skills were applied, and how learning was assessed.
And because they’re shareable and portable, they transcend borders and go wherever the internet can go—unlike traditional learning program completions. As a result, you can easily share badges on social media and online resumes, professional networks, and with internal teams.
And the process of badging is pretty much what you might think. It’s the earning and receiving of said badges.
Why do badges matter?
A badge travels with the earner—wherever their career goes—so when they earn a badge it's theirs to keep.
Think about it this way: How current is your college degree? And does it really give a complete picture of all your experience, skills, and career?
That’s where badges come in. They’re micro-credentials that complement and supplement your degree, experience, and other professional accomplishments. In other words, they help tell your story by highlighting the skills you’ve gained and the knowledge you’ve acquired along the way.
This is especially important when skills are emerging and evolving too quickly for traditional education alone. Badges represent the next generation of learning recognition.
Now you may wonder: How is this different from just adding certifications to my job listing page on Linkedin?
Well, badges aren’t subjective, and can’t be self-appointed—they must be earned. Badges, when done right, have set criteria and requirements to be earned, and they are verified and substantiated by trusted third parties. That means when a badge is awarded and shared, a level of effort and resulting accolades come with it.
5 Reasons to Invest in Digital Badging
Here are five reasons why organizations should invest in badging programs:
- They help ensure people have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to do their jobs. They also tackle important business decisions—both now and in the future. That means organizations have employees who are competent, productive, and able to successfully lead inside and outside the organization.
- They help differentiate organizations in the marketplace. Think about it: Would you be more inclined to work with an organization that can show evidence of their people’s skills, and how they’re scaling up—rather than an organization that can’t show any of this?
- They help promote a culture of continuous learning. Rather than having to return to university to earn a certification, badges offer a similar—but more straightforward and cost-effective—way to show when someone has gained those skills and knowledge.
- They serve as a retention tool. According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
- They provide helpful insights. This is especially important, as workplace tools, technologies, and processes continue to evolve at a rapid rate. For instance, digital badges are interactive, so when you click on one you might see what was learned, how it was assessed, and how it was applied. Badges also might include issue and expiration dates, so both learners and the organization know when it’s time to refresh a particular training or course. Furthermore, badging technology can integrate with the broader learning ecosystem for a more granular view of organizational development, emerging leaders, etc.
Ultimately, the value of the badging lies in the proof of experience, the understanding of established and emerging fields of upskilling employees, and the vast knowledge a particular company possesses.
Up Next: Badging in the Real World
In our next blog post, we’ll share a closer look at how real organizations use their badging and credentialing program to publicly recognize, celebrate, and promote employee learning.
Watch Now: Digital Badges for Better Workforce Insights
Want to learn more about how PwC built their global badge program? Watch this in-depth, show-and-tell with their L&D team as they share their expertise on digital badging and analytics. You’ll see what data they’re reviewing, explore their data journey, and understand the kind of questions this program is already helping them to answer.
About the author
As director of communications, Abbey is dedicated to managing our brand and overseeing our marketing communications, just to name a few.
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