If you read Skills Based Approach (2013 and 2020), you know I jumped on the digital badging / credentialing bandwagon – devoted a chapter on them. Yes, they are accepted across education, higher education, and training institutions. A clear advantage to them is they are verified or accredited.
Though some problems I have with them is they: create clutter, are useful only to certain audiences, and expire quickly (static). I designed Skills Emblems, which are like badges but solve some of these problems. Let me introduce you to them.
Skills Emblem is a responsive graphic showing summary data of queued and completed work on a skill-by-skill basis for a learner or worker. The data includes: time spent, Skill Points, and number of tasks. It can be summarized across a lifetime, education stage, or specific time period.
The idea of badges is to collect them and port them across platforms, might start collecting them as you move through education, higher education, and career stages. They are digital, so technically not a problem; but, I argue they are messy for the reviewer – requires some sense making to understand how they work.
A Skill Emblem represents a single skill. You might have thirty to forty skills based on our expanded interpretation of skills (not much different than on your resume or LinkedIn profile). They are responsive, meaning they get tabulated real-time based on a learner’s collection of learning labels. The reviewer – a connection, teammate, or practitioner – is always looking at skills.
I think badging heavily favors the viewer as an educator or company. A top-down process. Badges are designed for this purpose: verified credentials. (A few of my competitors would make this remark.)
Skill Emblems are designed for not only the practitioner, but also peers and teammates (as I said in the last point). They include links to precisely the tasks and subsequent numbers being tallied – part of the verification process, part sharing the learning resources. Moreover, they could be limited to a team project. Equally useful for practitioners and peers.
I think badges have the potential to get outdated quickly. Generally, the credentials reference a set of resources that must then go through an accreditation process. Problem is the lifespan of the majority of technical skills is less than five years.
Skill Emblems are designed differently. They get tabulated based on a collection of learning labels in circulation. As said earlier, time is a constraint, so a viewer might change the begin and end dates to keep the Skill Emblems relevant.
The verification process is based on the accuracy of the learning label. There is a place on the label to reference commonly accepted learning standards (most align well to skills). One check is a peer review system (already built into the apps). A second check is the Skill Points algorithm – under construction, Skill Parser is a good starting point. Finally, there is clarity:
Skill Emblems (summary data for a skill) -> Learning Labels (definition and numbers being summed) -> Links to the actual resources
Badging will always be useful because of their credibility and verification process. I still suggest putting learning labels into a series, getting them verified, and then assigning a badge. There is functionality in the apps to do so.
However, with enough learning labels in place, our system offers an alternative: Skill Emblems. They are real-time, based on commonly accepted skills (classification), built for peers and practitioners, and are always relevant. Visit the website to learn more. Skill Emblems now render as a website version and natively in Android and Windows 10 apps.