How Digital Badges are Driving a Positive Transformation in Corporate Learning  

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Statista shows some incredible numbers in terms of the money being spent in the United States on training and learning. In 2012, roughly US$55.8 billion was spent on training. This value shot to US$93.6 billion in 2017. Despite the economic recession and slow-down and turbulent global markets; there is consistent investment in training staff and helping them work better. Money spent on corporate learning is pegged to grow further as a younger millennial audience enters the workforce.

Digital Badges

Amidst all the changes taking place in different industries; the challenge is to create corporate learning programs that help employees to improve their skills and are engaging with a strong recall value. L&D managers complain that employees aren’t serious, senior project managers complain that the training material isn’t good enough; the actual staff being trained to find no motivation to take up the course and look at it as a chore rather than a career progression tool.

So how does one change things in the corporate learning scenario?

There is no one finite solution or answer for this question. Corporate learning that combines – Digital Badges, Social Learning, Gamification, and Mobile-Based Learning is seen as the solution to address the problem of poor quality corporate learning.

Understanding Digital Badges

In this blog post, we will examine the role of digital badges in fostering a renewed vigor and interest in corporate learning. First, a bit of history; digital badges trace their origin to early 2011 when the Mozilla Foundation started the project and in the subsequent year published a framework that would become the global standard in designing and issuing global badges known as the ‘Open Standards Framework’.  In a couple of years, the open badges revolution would find its way to academic institutions as well as different business organizations each having various digital badges for tasks and certifications that they offered. From January 1, 2017, IMS Global Learning Consortium is handling the progress and updates to the Open Badges Project. Visit this page for a detailed post on the evolution of open badges.

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As per the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure, a learner fulfills the issuer-specific criteria to earn the badge by attending classes, passing an exam or review, or completing other activities. A grantor verifies that the specifications have been met and awards the badge, maintaining a record of it with attendant metadata. This metadata includes the issuer’s name, the recipient’s e-mail address, a link to the criteria, and a short description of the badge. It may also specify other details, such as the issue date, the expiration date, or a link to the evidence that supports the granting of the badge. The earner pushes the badge into a “backpack,” a portfolio-style server account, where badges from other grantors are also stored. Digital badges can be customized for individual levels of completion of a course as well as for completing all the levels of a course. Organizations with a strong intranet or staff-portal can allow employees to feature their digital badges on their employee pages as well. Companies that have experimented with digital badges for their internal training programs support its use.

Microsoft Leads the Way

Microsoft has been one of the early adopters of the digital badges concept and has actively created an internal learning program for its employees across different departments. This article by Peter Janzow cites how Microsoft’s sales force is getting trained and being rewarded with digital badges and the positive impact that it is having in the organization.

So, is your organization keen on implementing digital badges for your internal online training programs? What are your thoughts on leveraging digital badges to make corporate learning fun and accessible? Do leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

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