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.
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.