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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

What's the Future of Digital Badges?

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September 30, 2013

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What's the Future of Digital Badges?

As learning expands beyond the classroom into the digital space, a recent report from the Alliance of Excellent Education asks how skills and competencies can be assessed through digital badges.

The publication defines badges as "digital credentials that represent skills, interests and achievements earned by an individual through specific projects, programs, courses or other activities." The data behind a badge can align to educational standards, standards from business or competency frameworks.

The report breaks down the players in the badge system, including badge earners, badge consumers and badge issuers:

  • Badge issuers - schools, employers and other groups that create a credential that demonstrates competency in a field of interest
  • Badge consumers - institutions, employers and other groups that need people with demonstrated mastery; a badge consumer may also issue badges
  • Badge earners - individuals who want to demonstrate their skills and achievements

The publication predicts that the future looks bright for badges, as evidenced by:

  • The Office of Vocational and Adult Education commissioning a study to explore the feasibility of a badging system for adult education.
  • The U.S. Department of Education releasing guidance for competency-based learning at postsecondary institutions, which can be supported by badges.
  • Draft Workforce Investment Act legislation featuring industry-recognized credentials, which could be awarded in the form of badges.

Badges, which demonstrate a student's progress in developing skills and competencies for career success, could be a great fit for CTE.

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