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This week, Managing eLearning features a guest post by Lauren Gray of Web Courseworks



EDUCAUSE is a non-profit association for IT professionals working in higher education, and strives to help those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic decisions at every level.

Mission: to advance higher education through the use of information technology

One of the new advances EDUCAUSE has implemented is a digital badging program to reward members and users who attend annual conferences and events and complete selected training programs. This blog post will look further into the actual value of these badges, the presence they have on social media, and how the badges benefit the members of EDUCAUSE.

In 2014 EDUCAUSE launched a digital badging program, offering the opportunity to earn badges in five different categories aligning with professional development and community involvement.

The categories include:
Communications Badges– earned by those who share knowledge or lend expertise by presenting online or face-to-face, including webinars, seminars, and conference session presentations


Community Service Badges– recognize volunteer efforts to serve, including conference session proposal review, program or advisory committee membership, and programmatic thought leadership.


Leadership Development Badges– acknowledge initiative and commitment in intense, participatory learning experiences for professional and personal growth as managers and leaders in the institute program portfolio.


Leadership Awards Badges-awarded to standout community leaders through the annual EDUCAUSE awards program.


Subject Matter Badges recognize engaged development in specific content areas accomplished through online courses or other learning experiences.


What is digital badging and why does it matter?

Digital badges are awarded to individuals who accomplish a particular task, experience, project, skill, class, etc. A learner fulfills the criteria needed to obtain a badge by conducting presentations, attending conferences or classes, or serving on advisory boards and committees. Once a badge is obtained, it can be published to social media to document the skills gained through the various learning and engagement opportunities via professional organizations and communities. Badges then serve as a digital transcript that can highlight interest and professional development towards certain skills and subject areas. An association can then recognize the steps taken to achieve the badge and understand the individual’s learning path and objective towards their career or further higher education.

According to an article on badging for professional development , the digital badging project implemented by EDUCAUSE at the annual meeting in 2013, has awarded more than 2,500 badges to date. Further, 80% of EDUCAUSE badges are shared via LinkedIn using Credly, a digital credential management platform that has a partnership with LinkedIn for sharing badges. Digital Badging is an emergent and rapidly evolving field.

Why is a badge significant to the member of a professional association?

Let’s say you have your eye on a new job but you do not want to have to go back to school to achieve the updated requirements. There are many topics that are simply not taught in schools, or not taught well there. A professional association is often the best place to get specialized education related to particular professions. You need to develop a document skill set targeted at the qualifications of the job that the employer will recognize and understand. Acquiring digital badges through the use of higher education and online learning can enable you to target your skills training closely to match the requirements for the position. As your professional profile grows to include your work, accomplishments, and now current badge achievements from course completions, you now demonstrate a list of competencies for the badges displayed on your profile.

The badges you earn now signal to colleagues and prospective employers a professional drive towards active learning, engagement, and ongoing development. Digital badges can directly complement adult post-degree development to maintain competence and can help recognize prior learning and provide evidence throughout the lifelong learning cycle.

Obtaining digital badges from a source such as EDUCAUSE, enables you to prove you are continuing to stay up to date with your interests and education as you attend conferences, complete projects, or achieve special opportunities.

The Digital Badging Path to Success

  1. Jodi is a member of EDUCAUSE presenting at a conference on setting up a new open sourced LMS for the engineering department at UW Madison.
  2. After presenting she receives a presenter badge from EDUCAUSE through Credly.
  3. Jodi adds the digital badge to her LinkedIn profile
  4. A few months go by and Jodi gets an email from a recruiter from another University that is looking to implement a new open source LMS.

Outside of this list, the badge gives more visibility to her professional development and allows anyone viewing the badge to verify that she had the professional development experience that is listed on her profile. It is like a classic certificate that you would pick up at the end of an education event saying you attended, but it is more easily sharable and automate a lot of the manual processes that would be for paper certificates.

Valuable Resources

Diaz, V., Smith, R, S., & Petrillo, T. (2014). 7 things you should know about badging for professional development. EDUCAUSE 7 Things You Should Know.

Smith, R, S. (2015). Digital badging: The rise of skillbuilding recognition at EDUCAUSE. Next Generation Learning Blog.

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