Digital Badges for Learning Provide Incentives to Develop Skills and Real Careers

New concepts are brewing in online education, known as digital badges or skill badges. “Digital Badges” will play a very important role in learning because they are a non-threatning, short learning experiences, with a personal reward system built in. Everyone wants recognition for the work they put toward learning and applying what can be done as a new or advanced skill.  These online digital badges provide a system approach for those who want to create and share knowledge (Authors), those who want to learn the skills and be recognized for new skills by passing the assessments (Learners). The certifying body is the organization who requires these skills (Sponsors such as industry employers and large organizations) who employ or contract those who can show proficiency in a particular trade skill or other complex tasks.

Life long learning is becoming the absolute standard to  stay current, to stay with compliance, to compete for jobs by showing the level of experience and ability.

Digital badges represent a valuable tool for for managers who are looking beyond the classical resume. Now the social networks such as Facebook and Linked are moving to support this movement. The rewards of “digital badges” or “skill badges” are almost immediate, providing an instantly publishable accomplishment into the most popular social media sites like FaceBook and Linked in. This is  gratifying to anyone looking to build a digital resume and showing that life long learning is important to their career plans.

Specific skills or competencies can be accomplished by any learner, at any age as long as   the learner has access to the internet. The accomplishment is certifiable. 

From the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Duncan http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/digital-badges-learning

“The President and I are convinced that with technology, we have an extraordinary opportunity to expand educational excellence and equity, and personalize the experience for students. Technology can enable the high-quality teaching and learning that today’s students need to thrive as citizens, workers, and leaders in the digital age, and the globally competitive knowledge economy.

We’re excited that, this year … the potential of digital badges. Badges can help engage students in learning, and broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate – as well as document and display – their skills.

Badges can help speed the shift from credentials that simply measure seat time, to ones that more accurately measure competency. We must accelerate that transition. And, badges can help account for formal and informal learning in a variety of settings.

Posted by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has spearheaded the digital-badges movement for lifelong learning by launching a competition for badge proposals in partnership with Mozilla, a nonprofit Web organization best known for its open-source browser Firefox, and HASTAC, or Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, a network of individuals promoting new technologies for learning.

“Kids are learning in their peer group. They’re learning online. They’re learning in interest groups and after-school programs,” says Constance M. Yowell, the director of education for U.S. programs at the MacArthur Foundation. “One of the things that is abundantly clear to us is that learning is incredibly fragmented, and there’s nobody that’s helping the learning that’s happening across those connections.” Source - http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2012/06/13/03badges.h05.html