Monday, July 20, 2015

Digital Badges and the Workplace: Some Recent Resources

by James Willis 

The use and interest in open digital badges continues to grow. This is especially true for the workplace. Seen as dynamic evidence of learning and skills, badges are becoming better known and accepted by employers. This trend is expected to continue as badges become better understood in the wider conversation of credentialing and in alternative models like competency-based education. I've gathered some recent articles (with links) that discuss badges in the workplace.

If B.A.'s Can't Lead Graduates to Jobs, Can Badges Do the Trick? 
by Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education

This article highlights the "21st Century Skills Badging Challenge" to "incorporate the traits most sought by employers, often referred to as 'the four C's': critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration." The main idea of the article is a discussion of a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of schools that are building badges across institutions for the purpose of "building currency" in the workplaces.

Top Priority for Higher Education Execs Shifts to Career Outcomes

Detailing the results of the yearly Future of Online and Professional Education Survey, "Improving how institutions track career outcomes has emerged as the highest priority for senior executives of online and professional education programs." The results also pinpoint increased interest in badges in younger workers: "Close to 50% of respondents plan to add customizable certificates to their portfolio in the next five years, compared to the 4% of respondents who currently offer this type of credential. Thirty percent of respondents plan to offer digital badges in the next five years."

Employer Perceptions of Critical Information Literacy Skills and Digital Badges
by Victoria Raish and Emily Rimland, College & Research Libraries

Using a survey to quantitatively "gauge perceptions of information literacy skills of college graduates and the use of the innovation of digital badges to represent competencies that students have accumulated," Raish and Rimland found that employers are open to badges to demonstrate information literacy knowledge. One of their major findings includes, "...if students earn digital badges beyond their prescribed coursework, this is a clear and visual way that they can show employers they are learning beyond the classroom."

Recognizing Learner Autonomy: Lessons and Reflections from a Joint x/cMOOC
by S. Dawson, S. Joksimovic, V. Kovanovic, D. Gasevic, & G. Siemens, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)

Interpreting data from recent "simultaneous xMOOC and cMOOC (a dual layer MOOOC)," the authors connect recent research in workplace learning that "suggest[s] that individuals seldom have the necessary skills and strategies to be effective and productive learners" to the potential of badges to lead to further autonomous learning.

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