Digital solutions to overcome institutional challenges in recognising students’ wider achievements to increase motivation, engagement and employability.

 #Digital credentials, #ePortfolios   #Employability #HEAR6.1 #MOOCs #CPD #OpenBadges #InformalLearning   


jisc - 1.1 student in the centre


Building on the previous P2A Employability Skills Match project discussed in blogs below, Jisc is now dipping its toe in the digital credentials arena by exploring its own badge platform. We plan to start designing and issuing badges for delegates who take part in Jisc training, such as the Digital Capability project.

As Jisc develops its own digital credential offering, we will also work with a community of University and College staff that are keen to explore the uses of badges and other digital credentials. This will build on the ALT survey that ‘shows that there is a lot of interest in the use of Open Badges, but the majority of institutions are at an exploratory stage’. We would like to understand what technical support the sector needs in order to further explore the potential of digital credentials as the survey suggested that ‘while the VLE was stated as the method that the majority of institutions were using to issue badges, many commented that upon investigation the solution provided by the VLE needed further development and may not be fit for purpose’.

Basics on badges: Digitising micro credentials started to emerge in 2011 and so there are plenty of introductory resources on the internet such as This 2013 post on the Jisc blog gives a good overview of Open Badges, as well  as Joyce Seitzinger TEDX  and EDUCAUSE: 7 Things You Should Know About the Evolution of the Transcript  Plus short explanatory videos such as on Acclaim  and Serge Ravet on Open Badges and Competencies

Jisc RSC Scotland began issuing OpenBadges in 2013, and badges were awarded for digital leadership, digital innovation, and to digital practitioners. Further information about these badge series can be found here. Jisc is currently refreshing the resources that they developed and further information will be available soon.

Compared to paper versions, digital credentials offer new technical challenges such as security for verifying the learner and their achievements, but also opportunities with new ways for learners to choose their own pathways, stay motivated with more frequent rewards and showcase their more granular achievements to new audiences. Also more tailored matching services are being created with the more detailed achievements.

Digital credentials enable organisations to assess and award credentials beyond the traditional transcript. Such credentials enable institutions and learners to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive world. There is further discussion about this challenge in previous P2A blogs below. 

Purposes of badges: Badges can be used for various purposes such as motivating the earner with more frequent rewards. Digital games recognised this benefit in enhancing the players sense of achievement and maintain their interest for longer. Players also use digital credentials to demonstrate their mastery to their peers, so digitally sharing their achievements globally is an important motivator too. Now my FITBIT award me badges for exceeding daily fitness goals!

Various parts of the education sector are capitalising on the increasing use of digital credentials to engage learners that might have previously been turned off education. City and Guilds who have created Badges to go into their online CV.  ‘Employers are increasingly recognizing badges as they verify the skills of a learner’.  

ePortfolios are important tools for learners to gather all sorts of evidence to reflect on and substantiate their skills, competencies and achievements not only for personal development but also for showcases to peers and possible employers. Jisc has been a leading proponent of these, helping to embed them within the sector. We are currently exploring whether the Higher Education Achievement Record section 6.1 (additional verifable experience) could be a digital repository to reflect a broader and more consistent view of the learner’s accomplishments and interests that the institution is able to verify, linking into the institution’s student engagement and employability strategies.

Who else is developing digital credentials? 

DigitalMe is a not-for-profit organisation using Mozilla Open Badges to work with teachers, charities and employers to create a new digital currency that recognises all young people’s skills and talents. They support the use of the Open Badges Academy (currently Beta testing) and MakesWaves for under 16 year olds.

BESTR is an Italian digital platform based on Open Badges that aims to valorise one’s own competencies and connect them with companies, Universities and training institutions.

IMS and their partner institutions, including Jisc, have an evolving Competency Based Education (CBE) architecture to enhance the capabilities of the existing education enterprises designed around courses and credit hours.



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