A Guide to Digital Credentialing
Over the last several years, the number of universities, educational platforms and other institutions who have gotten into digital credentialing has grown. Digital credentialing may appear to be confusing at first glance. What is a digital badge? Is it different from a digital credential? How do institutions issue digital credentials?
Let ́s first take a look at some of the basic terms related to digital credentialing. Digital credentials include digital badges and digital certificates. In general, a digital badge represents an accomplishment that is less demanding in nature than a digital certificate, which is often used to indicate the completion of a course or an exam. An example of a digital badge might be the completion of an informal assessment or watching a video.
Here are some of the important steps involved in getting into digital credentialing.
Planning Your System
As with any program development, it is necessary to map out the courses that will be offered and how they are related to one another. For example, what prerequisites will be required for certain courses? What is the course flow for a certain program or set of courses? Another key part of your course map should be assessment. The type of assessment used as it should match the type of accomplishment or badge that will be issued.
Finally, you will need to determine what skills or activities each digital badge will represent. As previously mentioned, badges can be used in a variety of ways. You can have badges that show that a certain amount of the course has been completed or when certain skills have been acquired. Keep in mind that one important function of badges is to motivate learner participation in the course.
It is recommended that you take a look at some online digital credential systems to compare the type of language that is used to describe different types of badges.
Requirements for Digital Badges
Once you have an idea of your course offerings, you can start to think about how to design your digital badges. The Open Badges system, which contributes to making digital badges verifiable and portable, has certain requirements for the information included in a digital badge. Information such as the name, category and URL of the badge, the issue date, as well as the issuer and recipient must be included. Other information such as the skills and knowledge, expiration date and additional information about the issuer are also often included and are very helpful to potential learners and other institutions.
Making Your Digital Credentials Available
The next step is to make the digital credentials available to learners. The current system used is the Open Badges system by the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS), which also supports other important systems in the online learning space.
When it comes to digital credentialing, the IMS partners with educational institutions as well as companies that develop products in the digital credentialing space. It certifies platforms that support the creation of digital certificates and badges, including designing, issuing and verifying digital credentials. These companies make integration into digital credentialing much easier for schools and universities.
Some of the steps required for digital credentialing are very similar to how courses and programs are developed in traditional educational settings, such as planning how courses will work together, but others are new and require a different set of skills, such as making sure courses are verifiable.
What part of digital credentialing do you think is the most difficult for educational institutions? What parts of courses are more difficult to convert into digital credentials?