Digital Badges: The Future of Learning is Here
Dan Stotz is executive director of Executive Education Programs for the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. He is a recognized expert in designing mobile-learning programs that use best practices in gamification, micro-learning, and on-the-job application.
As a partner with Coles, we will be offering digital badges — the next phase in professional education and career advancement.
Here, Dan shares information about what this means for you and the future of learning.
What is a digital badge?
A digital badge is a new credential that a person earns when they complete an online educational program. The digital badge movement was started by the MacArthur Foundation who wanted to inspire universities and other organizations to create digital badge programs that improve learning outcomes for students and adults. A digital badge credential validates and communicates an individual’s skills and achievements to the rest of the world.
Digital badge credentials are most often displayed in the accomplishments section of a person’s LinkedIn profile and on other social media outlets. The digital badge can be validated by a potential employer with just a click. Goodbye, paper certificates. Hello, digital credentialing!
Why are digital badge programs popular?
Digital badge programs at the Coles College of Business, where I work, are popular because they are mobile-learning programs that use the best practices in gamification, micro-learning and collaborative application. The College’s most popular digital badge programs are in the areas of account management, business innovation and leadership excellence.
The digital badge is valued because the program is rigorous and involves both learning and doing. Digital badges are popular with employers because the employee has to demonstrate real-world application of the concepts and skills being “learned.”
For example, the Coles College teamed up with WellStar Health System to develop a Digital Badge in Leadership Excellence–Healthcare. So far 89 healthcare professionals have graduated from the program titled the WellStar Leadership Academy. The program is already having a significant positive impact on both the individuals and the organization.
What’s the difference between a digital badge and a certificate?
The digital badge credential is designed to complement, not replace, traditional educational degrees, certifications or certificates. However, for those individuals who don’t have the time or budget to pursue a traditional degree or certification, the digital badge mobile-learning program and digital badge micro-credential may be their best — and maybe only — alternative.
A digital badge credential is earned when you complete a short educational program that is, more often than not, 100% online. A university validated certificate or certification is typically earned when you also spend face-to-face time with the instructors either at a college campus or a company’s training center. For most individuals, it’s not an either/or decision. They often complete both digital badge programs and certificate programs to deepen their knowledge and enhance their marketability.
Building digital badge programs is a team sport!
Universities that truly want to innovate, and meet the needs of today’s modern learner, have to team up with others. Innovation in higher education is not an individual sport, it’s a team sport!
At the Coles College of Business we have partnered with Jubi, who provides an award-winning, gamified mobile-learning platform; Leadercast, who provides thought-provoking videos featuring leadership experts from around the world; and the studio and digital media wizards at Kennesaw State University’s Technology Enhanced Learning division who help our faculty write scripts and deliver engaging online content.
Digital badge mobile-learning programs offer practical knowledge, backed by research, proven in practice, delivered directly to a person’s desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Digital badge programs offer just enough knowledge, just in time — at your fingertips 24/7. The future of learning is here!