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What are Badges? 

Open Badges are standard, verifiable, portable, and shareable digital micro-credentials with embedded information about the skills and achievements of their recipients. They have been developed to make visible and recognise what we learn and achieve through work, school, hobbies, volunteering, and various other activities in our lives. They can be used to validate competencies and achievements, to motivate employees, volunteers, and students, to set up learning pathways, and to monitor individual or organisational development goals. 

Benefits of Badges (and Micro-credentials) in Higher Education: The Implementation of Agency and Empowerment for Students and Workers

The Landscape

The current landscape of higher education is one of intense competition. To stand out in the job market, students need to have more than just a degree from a good school. They need to have the skills and experiences that employers are looking for. Badged and credentialed programs are one way that students can make themselves more attractive to employers. These programs offer students the chance to gain valuable skills and experiences that will help them in their careers. In addition, these programs often come with a badge or credential that can be added to a resume or a digital profile. While badged and credentialed programs are not the only way to make oneself more attractive to employers, they are becoming increasingly popular and are worth considering.

These programs can also give individuals the power to take control of their own learning and professional development. The purpose of this badging project is social and economic uplift; by explicitly aligning skills with experiences can help students better understand and articulate what skills they have and how they align with an employer's needs.

Higher education is a space of degrees as a measure of knowledge mastery however degrees are time-consuming and subjective in their assessment of learning. An "A" in a class does not make one competent for completing a task but competent in regurgitating information in whatever exam formats are implemented throughout their academic tenure. With the rise of online learning, there has been an increase in the number of programs that offer badges and credentials. But what exactly is the difference between these three types of programs? First, micro-credential and badge programs are often used interchangeably because they both refer to short-term programs. Badged programs are typically shorter and less expensive than credentialed programs. They are also more flexible, as you can often complete them at your own pace. Credentialed programs, on the other hand, are more expensive and time-consuming, but they offer more in-depth instruction and can lead to better job opportunities. If one is looking for a quick and affordable way to learn new skills, a badged program might be a good option. Badged and credential programs usually have a shorter completion time and validate a particular skill or set of skills instead of a breadth of learning. However, if one is looking to make a long-term investment in a career, a degree program might be better. Degree programs offer more theoretical depth yet completing a program does not mean the 'offer' has been embraced.


There are several components that are typically included in a digital badging framework:


1.     Badge Issuance and Management: This includes the processes for creating and issuing badges, as well as managing the lifecycle of badges, such as updating, revoking, and archiving badges.

2.     Badge Criteria and Evidence: This includes the standards and guidelines for what a badge represents, as well as the evidence required to earn a badge. Evidence can include assessments, portfolios, and other forms of demonstration of learning.

3.     Badge Earner Records: This includes the tracking and reporting of badge earners and their achievements, as well as the ability to view and manage badge earner records.

4.     Badge Credentialing: This includes the validation and endorsement of badges by recognized organizations or individuals, as well as the processes for reviewing and verifying badge criteria and evidence.

5.     Badge Display and Sharing: This includes the ability for badge earners to display and share their badges, as well as the ability for others to view and verify badges.

Badging programs offer several social benefits to the communities they serve. These benefits include increased opportunities for networking and collaboration, an increased sense of community and belonging, and improved communication skills. Credentialing and badging programs can also have a positive effect on society. These programs can help to build bridges between different groups, and they can provide opportunities for underserved populations. Badging programs can have a profound impact on the communities they serve.
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