The concept of a badge is a very deep-rooted one; everyone is familiar with merit badges from scouting. Badges are bite-sized visual representations that denote evidence of skills and experience. In the world of higher education, badging is becoming a sophisticated technology to verify learning.
Open Badges are a relatively new technology standard for recognizing and documenting student learning. Beginning with Mozilla’s Open Badge Project in 2011-12, and with help from the MacArthur Foundation, a standard for badges as digital micro-credentials emerged. By 2013, over 1,450 organizations were issuing badges worldwide.
Why are badging & credentialing important in higher education? Badging is an ideal way to prove skills and experience to employers.
The bachelor’s degree is now a virtual commodity. As such, the laws of economics must prevail to drive down its value as a differentiator.
In order to break the cycle of commoditized degrees, educational institutions need to bravely take on the challenge of verifying and documenting student learning in a way that allows employers to seek and find the candidates they need.
At Chalk & Wire, our experience leads us to be optimistic and believe that verified digital badging will be the solution needed to successfully chronicle students’ skills development and allow employers to understand and trust their academic and soft skills achievements.
First, let’s be clear that the so-called skills gap is not something new. It’s been brewing like a toxic stew for more than forty years. The term “skills gap” only barely describes what is really going on. Nearly everyone involved has had some role in creating and sustaining something that runs deeply in the culture of western society.
The often unrealistic expectations and dreams of many well-meaning people are at the center of a tragedy of the perceived skills gap. It is the unfortunate byproduct of hope – that most laudable of human traits.
As we explore the recipe for the current “skills gap stew” and job readiness consequences, we take firm aim on what we see as the best path forward to achieve job readiness in hope of inspiring the higher education industry as a whole and the stakeholders who drive it.
The Assessment Technology of the Future Exists Now, But Will Higher Education Leaders Champion It?
The future of higher education paired with technological advancements is a hot topic and has been theorized for many years, even highlighted in pop culture. You may be old enough to remember the 1986 movie, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In the film, there is a scene where an adult Spock is taking his final exam- a multimedia test from a Vulcan “teaching machine.”
Assessment technology can be leveraged to improve student learning by customizing highly individualized programs. Each student is led by the assessment technology and explores customized, adaptive learning journeys crafted to address both the curriculum outcomes and the way each student learns best. This is real, not science fiction.
A college portfolio is students’ best opportunity to show graduate schools, employers, and credentialing agencies what they know, how they will act and how they will address real-world problems. A robust academic portfolio can quickly provide confirmation that students have the knowledge and skills they claim. However, without forethought and guidance on choosing the right evidence, students may end up creating a worthless academic portfolio.
Here’s are ten tips for creating a killer college portfolio to make this a huge win for your students…
We could go on forever about the reasons students do not return to school, but let’s focus on what proactive institutions can do to improve their retention rate. Simply, engage students in all aspects of campus life. Recognize their accomplishments. Provide support for them academically. And most importantly, prepare them for the workforce.