Digital Badges Explained: What, Why, How and When to Use Them

    Discover the power of Digital Badges! Uncover what they are, when to use them, how to build a quality badge and why they're a game-changer for skills recognition and validation.
    user-circle Credly Team
    hourglass-01 11 min read
    Meeting discussing the concept, utilization, and benefits of digital badges
    Digital badges are versatile for recognizing and validating skills, achievements, and credentials in various contexts. Use this blog to: 

    • Grasp the concept and application of digital badges
    • Explore their benefits for your organization and badge earners
    • Learn the essential steps for creating quality digital badges

    What is a Digital Badge?

    Definition: A digital badge is a tangible representation of an individual’s competencies and skills. They are designed to be easily shareable and verifiable, typically containing verifiable data such as the badge earner's name, the issuing organization, and the criteria met to earn the badge. 

    The use of metadata to provide detailed information about skills and competencies makes it easier for organizations to verify credibility and understand the true value of an individual’s qualifications and skills. 

    Open Badge Standard: Digital badges by Acclaim adhere to the Open Badge Standard, ensuring their interoperability and compatibility across different platforms and systems.

    Here are the key features of Acclaim’s digital credentials and what they mean:   

    Acclaim Digital Credential Overview

    • Custom badge design: A badge visual is the graphic representation of your badge and the associated metadata. Badge visuals provide brand recognition, establish credibility, and represent your designation. We provide detailed guidelines and templates in badge visuals, making it easy to get started!

    • Expiration date: Depending on the nature of the badge and your program, you can establish a badge template that will expire at some point. Alongside the expiration dates, you can also send automated notifications to earners of their badge expirations.

    • Verification button: Badges can be verified on the Acclaim platform easily using our ‘Verify’ button, ensuring all badges are authentic and allowing badge earners to prove their genuine credentials when needed to employers, recruiters or educational institutions.

    • Celebrate button: Logged-in Credly users can celebrate other badge earners’ achievements easily when viewing their public badge.

    • Metadata: Structured information captured within a digital credential that describes achievement information, such as criteria and outcomes. This information should describe what the earners are capable of doing after earning this badge, what they had to do to earn it and why employers should care about it. 

    • Template attributes: They are metadata fields that allow you to indicate the type, level, average time commitment, and cost for each badge. The standardized language of attributes allows us to more accurately compare one badge to another and may be used to suggest badges in the future.

    • Skill tags: Skills are important to the quality and currency of your badge. They speak to what an earner should be able to do.  Additionally, you can use the skills area to highlight knowledge gained. Our algorithm reads the description and criteria to determine what might fit your context. You can select those skills and add them to your template. Additionally, you can add your own skills.

    • Earning criteria: As part of quality metadata, earning criteria should clearly outline the activities and actions completed by the badge earner in order to be rewarded with the credential. Links can be added to give further context to the criteria.

    You can learn more about Acclaim's unique features, including those that set us apart from the competition.

    When to Use Digital Badges?

    Digital badges are applicable in numerous settings where recognition, validation, and skill demonstration are important. Everyday situations or contexts in which digital badges are commonly used include:

    Why Use Digital Badges

    With a plethora of courses and certifications available and the increasing popularity of remote learning, education providers face tough competition when it comes to attracting learners. Along with a growing number of fraudulent claims, employers and educators face the challenge of verifying skill sets.

    Here are some examples of common problems faced by our customers: 

    Pictogram-RGB-Coral Pink_Biometrics - face 220% of the participants in our courses are dropping out before completing the program.

    Pictogram-RGB-Coral Pink_Professional trainingDue to the cost of living crisis and uncertainty surrounding the value of education, the enrollment rate has significantly decreased.

    Pictogram-RGB-Coral Pink_Online meetingExperienced a decline in membership renewal over the past two years.

    Pictogram-RGB-Coral Pink_Multimedia 2Our career center is also overburdened, and our students are unaware of the amazing resources we offer to assist them in finding employment.

    Pictogram-RGB-Coral Pink_Time efficiencyOur students/learners have requested certificates, but manually creating and printing them has become time-consuming.  

    To tackle various challenges, Acclaim's digital credentials have proven to be a vital tool. With over 70 million digital badges managed and created on the platform, we have gained recognition in both the corporate and educational sectors as a credible solution to issue transparent, verifiable, and credible credentials. Digital credentials by Acclaim offer several benefits to both organizations and learners/students.

    Benefits for Issuers (Organizations or Institutions):

    • Enhanced Credibility and Reputation: Issuers of digital credentials gain credibility by offering verified and recognized badges, enhancing their reputation.

    • Increased Brand Awareness: When students or learners share their digital credentials on social media and other platforms, it serves as organic marketing for you as the issuer, increasing your brand visibility and promoting your course offerings.

    • Drives enrolment: Digital credentials can draw more students to your programs as they value these shareable, verifiable qualifications for boosting their professional profiles and job prospects.

    • Competitive Advantage: Providing digital credentials can differentiate issuers in the market and showcase your commitment to technological innovation while attracting more students, customers, or partners who value credibility.

    • Efficient Verification and Cost Savings: Digital credentials streamline the verification process, leading to cost savings. By eliminating the need for physical certificates and transcripts, you can ensure the validity of qualifications while reducing administrative overhead.

    • Security: Digital credentials’ robust security features make them tamper-resistant and secure against forgery or alteration, protecting the integrity of the credentialing process.

    Benefits for Badge Earners:

    • Verified Skills and Qualifications: Digital credentials provide individuals with verified proof of their skills and qualifications, making them more attractive to employers and educational institutions. 
    83% of employers prefer a digital badge when verifying student skills. The ability of digital badges to verify soft skills is particularly relevant when soft skill-intensive occupations are predicted to make up two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.
    • Competitive Advantage: Badge earners gain a competitive edge in the job market by showcasing their commitment to skill development and continuous learning. For example, industry micro-credentials are highly valued by employers, who are 72% more likely to hire someone who has earned them.

    • Accessibility and Portability: Digital credentials are easily accessible and highly portable, allowing badge earners to showcase their achievements widely.

    • Motivation and Recognition: Earning digital credentials provides a sense of accomplishment and recognition, boosting motivation and confidence.

    • Lifelong Learning and Skill Development: Digital credentials encourage and reward continuous learning and skill development, promoting lifelong learning. 

    As badge earners excel and achieve improved outcomes through these advantages, they not only enhance their own prospects but also contribute to your organization's reputation as a highly valuable learning/ training provider, creating a mutually reinforcing cycle of success.

    How to Create a Quality Digital Badge

    Creating high-quality badges isn’t as complex as you think! In fact, 126.7 hours can potentially be saved yearly by switching to digital credentials from paper certificates. [You can use our ROI calculator to compare time and cost savings of paper certificates versus digital credentials]

    Here are some key steps to create high-quality digital badges:

    • Select the Right Platform: Choose a reputable and secure platform for issuing and managing digital badges. [You can download this free checklist to guide you in choosing the most suitable platform]  

    • Engage Stakeholders: Get input from relevant stakeholders, including instructors, administrators, and learners, to refine badge criteria and design.

    • Utilize onboarding: Pick an onboarding package that fits your team, learn from experts, and follow best practices and top tips. These elements not only improve the user experience but also enhance the overall quality, impact, and effectiveness of your badges. [We offer various onboarding packages so you can choose the best one for you and your team]

    • Clearly Define Badge Criteria: Define clear and specific criteria for earning a badge to ensure meaningful accomplishments.

    • Offer Pathways and Stacking: Consider creating badge pathways or stacking options to motivate learners to continue their learning journey.

    • Use Analytics: Implement analytics to track badge earning and sharing, providing insights for program improvement

    By following these steps, organizations can create digital badges that are meaningful, secure, and valuable to badge earners and stakeholders.

    How can we help? 

    If you’re looking to build a digital credentialing program, Credly Acclaim can help support you on your digital credentialing journey. By taking our Credentialing Mastery Assessment, we’ll be able to advise you in three key areas of your digital credentialing strategy: foundation, delivery, and sustainability & scalability. This will be followed by a detailed and personalized report with rich resources to help you transform, adapt, and lead your way to mastering the world of credentialing excellence.

    Why wait? Discover how you can build a successful program unique to your organization’s needs with our Credentialing Mastery Assessment.

    Start Your Digital Credentialing Journey


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