“Digital Badges: The Proof that Communicates Skills” - Your Questions Answered Part 1
Creating and implementing a digital credentialing program in the Higher Ed space can be difficult to navigate without the right resources. Oftentimes, we get asked a lot of meaningful, thoughtful questions about where to begin, either online or in-person at events. During our recent webinar, “Digital Badges: The Proof that Communicates Skills,” our panelists shed some light on why the use of microcredentials are so critical to the success of students and employers. Here are some of the highlights, answered from Brenda Perea, Director of Education & Workforce Strategies at Credly.
Q: How “official” are the certificates that are issued?
A: In short, At CCCS, issuing certificates required state approval. The Colorado Department of Higher Education granted authority to the System board for any award included in the program approvals. Most secondary and postsecondary programs have an approval process which asks what industry certifications can be conferred in the program.
Q: Are badges included as industry certifications?
A: No. Why? Because as of today, the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education collects data on industry certifications, but not on badges awarded. This is because when we set up the badging framework at CCCS, and governance of digital badges, badges were to be used to document employment skill sets, and not for educational transfer credit which is already documented with our courses, certificates and degrees. We believed that digital badges were a workforce relevance enhancement for our traditional offerings.
In 2014-2015 our system Director of Prior Learning Assessment worked with our board to modify our CPL/PLA policy to allow for the evaluation of digital badges for college credit using the same procedure any other request for evaluation of prior learning for college credit. There was an anticipation that the community college student profile was rapidly changing, our system needed to be prepared for the “unbundled” student who had learning from multiple sources and one of those sources could be from documented and verifiable learning represented by a digital badge.
Q: What is the process for reviewing and approving a digital badge?
A: The initial work the Digital Badge Taskforce completed prior to deciding to start issuing digital badges created a framework and governance plan. An idea for a badge can be proposed by any of the colleges in the CCCS system, but the request must be accompanied by support from a different college or in the case of the system. Included in the request is the detailed title of the badge (what), the description of the badge (why), the competencies, skills and abilities, assessment(s) and evidence which trigger the badge (when); and workforce relevance facts, such as the need and intended earner and consumer (employers willing to consider the badge in applicant hiring criteria) of the newly created badge (who). A small committee run out of the CCCS Associate Provost for Workforce Partnerships and Development office reviews the request and makes a recommendation for the badge build or sends it back for revisions. If approved, there is a system employee who is then tasked with the creation of the badge inside the Credly platform to include the badge graphic, the metadata and any links to assessments, evidence or standards.
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