Pearson's Standardized Credentialing Framework to Enable Business Success 

    Pearson, a leader in assessment and learning, has implemented a digital credentialing framework to drive business success through global learning and development initiatives. Discover how they optimize digital credential impact by collaborating with local owners and building a standardized framework.

    Pearson, a global leader in assessment and learning experiences, has embarked on a transformative journey to a scalable and sustainable digital credentialing framework integral to their global learning and development (L&D) strategy. The focus extends beyond Pearson's central learning and talent development initiatives, with collaboration between the Global Learning and Talent Development Centre of Expertise (Global L&D CoE) and local initiative owners to cultivate targeted skill sets needed globally and locally.

    This case study explores three key innovative approaches employed by the central team to build a strong foundation for optimizing the impact of digital credentialing:

    • Building a standardized credentialing framework
    • Running a pilot program
    • Developing a community of local initiative owners

    We then delve into the specifics of two initiatives, exploring how digital badges are strategically utilized and the impact on employees and overall business outcomes.

    Pearson's Path to Digital Badge Adoption

    In the rapidly evolving landscape of education and professional development, Pearson sought to enhance employee motivation, validation and celebration of learning achievements to advance organizational goals and enable business success. At the heart of this initiative lies the Global L&D CoE. The team is devoted to fostering engagement, driving performance, and cultivating a culture of continuous learning at Pearson.

    To strengthen its impact and provide tangible value to its employees, the Global L&D CoE adopted digital credentials, enabling recognition and sharing of achievements within Pearson and beyond.

    In addition to the global learning and development opportunities available within Pearson, many local initiative owners have created learning solutions that respond to the specific needs of their divisions within Pearson—for example, upskilling a sales team with specific product knowledge to improve sales conversations. The Global L&D CoE ensured their credentialing strategy would be able to support both global and local learning and development opportunities across the organization, enabling a culture of inclusion, equity, recognition and learning that would empower employees’ professional growth. To achieve that, the Global L&D CoE dedicated six months to building a strong credentialing framework as a foundation and running a pilot. They also worked closely with local initiative owners to integrate and manage digital credentials as part of their initiatives.

    Building A Standardized Credentialing Framework & Messaging

    To start, in addition to the clear need for varied upskilling and reskilling initiatives across the organization, the Global L&D CoE identified a crucial need for a standardized credentialing framework. Prior to this, the absence of a unified framework meant credentialing strategies, encompassing the compilation of credential metadata, the criteria for determining credential worthiness, and the badge issuance processes, were being governed independently at the local level, which led to inconsistencies in how skills and achievements were evaluated and acknowledged. This created challenges in understanding, recognizing, and transferring credentials across different initiatives.

    To address this inconsistency, the Global L&D CoE took the following steps:

    • Step 1: Collaborated closely with initiative owners across the business, migrating their credentials to a central Pearson organizational profile.
    • Step 2: Developed the strategy and framework in consultation with these initiative owners. This ensured alignment behind Pearson’s strategy from the outset, including the vision, mission and goals for credentialing across the organization, and that the framework could meet current and future credentialing needs.
    • Step 3: By collaborating closely with HR Business Partners and the communications team, the Global L&D CoE ensured a consistent message on credentialing permeated the organization when launching the pilot in late 2022. This concerted effort aimed at creating a unified understanding and support for the potential of digital credentials within Pearson.

    Pilot Program: Shaping Success with Credly's Expertise

    With a systematized framework in place, the Global L&D CoE tested four different credential types in 2022. These credential types either recognized:

    1. the acquisition of knowledge
    2. the ability to apply knowledge and skills in practice
    3. the ability to teach others in an area of expertise
    4. impactful community leadership, contribution and advocacy

    Leveraging the expertise of the Efficacy and Learning CoE at Pearson and through focused research, including surveys and focus groups, the Global L&D CoE gauged employee perceptions, motivations, and credential impact. Key findings included the manager's role in influencing earner engagement with credentials and insight into earners’ highest priorities and motivations that inform whether they accept and share credentials. This pilot phase informed the successful launch of internal credentialing in 2023, allowing collaborative development for both local and global initiatives across the organization.

    Collaborating with Credly's professional services team was instrumental in laying the foundation for Pearson’s credentialing strategy. The comprehensive onboarding process guided the Global L&D CoE through all key aspects, from shaping the vision and strategy to effectively communicating about credentialing and issuing credentials to earners. The Credly team's expertise and insights instilled confidence in the launch, ensuring a valuable internal credentialing program was initiated.

    "The professional services team at Credly led us through a highly organized and thorough process, which ensured we had laid strong foundations on which we could launch and scale credentialing at Pearson. The team shared invaluable insights and expertise which empowered us to get to where we are today.''
    Zoe Zymanczyk, Product Manager - Pearson Products, the Global Learning & Talent Development CoE

    Encouraging Collaboration: Community of Local Initiative Owners

    The work doesn’t stop after a successful pilot. The Global L&D CoE continues working closely with each initiative owner to understand their credentialing needs and consult on how best to position credentialing within their learning experience. They have a series of sessions with the initiative owners to support them at key stages of developing their credentials, from aligning them to the credentialing framework to building out the credentials in the most meaningful way, and finally advising on how best to communicate and launch their credentials to ensure they add the most value to the earner and set the initiative up for success.

    A community of initiative owners was also developed to connect with each other, spotlight learning experiences and credentialing initiatives happening locally, and inspire others.

    Success Stories on Local Initiatives: Unveiling the Impact

    Empowered by a robust framework and a dynamic credentialing platform supporting skills validation and celebration, the initiative owners harnessed the resources and tools essential for the success of their initiatives. Here are two initiatives that have effectively utilized digital credentials to drive impactful learning experiences and enable business success.

    Initiative: iSell

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    iSell Practitioner digital badge

    Overview: The iSell initiative, launched globally in 2021, equips sales teams with enhanced skills to understand customer pain points. Motivated by the prospect of upskilling and driven by digital credentials provided by Credly, the sales teams embraced the initiative. Learners participating in iSell's upskilling initiative have reported an estimated $14.5 million in return on investment (ROI).

    Success Factors: The iSell initiative's success can be attributed to its course structure and flexible module design. Salespersons have the autonomy to select courses tailored to their professional development needs, earning stackable badges on Credly as they progress.

    Impact: When surveyed after earning their badges, participants reported feeling more motivated to continue learning at Pearson and that their achievements had been appropriately recognized as a result of earning their badges. The initiative owner is hopeful that this motivation and sense of accomplishment will drive continued engagement in the iSell initiative and ongoing skill refinement.

    Explore the iSell case study.

    Initiative: Teaching with the Global Scale of English

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    Overview: Pearson launched 'Teaching with the Global Scale of English' to employees in the English Language Learning division to address internal knowledge gaps on the Global Scale of English (GSE), a fundamental approach underpinning Pearson's English Language Learning products. The course was initially launched for those in product, marketing, and sales roles to support product development and sales. The initiative intends to boost employee confidence in knowledge on the Global Scale of English, positively influence sales teams, and contribute to ongoing product development.

    Success Factors: With successful backing from leadership across the division, the course has been made available to all employees in English Language Learning. To motivate employees to take the course, the initiative owners opted for digital badges to be awarded to employees upon completion.

    Impacts: With strong leadership support, the initiative has achieved over 90% badge acceptance and the team has observed that two-thirds of completions have come voluntarily from sales and marketing roles.

    Feedback from some employees highlights digital credentials as a key motivational factor, contributing to increased confidence. Moreover, organic initiative champions enthusiastically share their achievements on social media platforms, fostering a positive learning culture within the organization.

    Explore the full case study.

    Future-Forward Credentialing and Skill Development

    Since the Pearson Global L&D CoE embarked on their journey with the pilot in 2022, they have delved deeper into understanding what makes credentialing work at Pearson and how to deepen the impact it has on business success. Together with the initiative owners, they have learnt how to better communicate the value of credentials to learners and seamlessly integrate them into the fabric of a learning experience.

    Moving forward, Pearson is continuing to harness the power of digital badges. The Global L&D CoE plan to leverage Credly beyond divisional strategies for company-wide skill development to fuel ongoing business transformation, success, and impact.

    Connect with our Sales team to explore how digital badges can enable business growth for you.

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