The Future of Badges, Resumes, and Professional Credentials

In our ongoing series of blog posts on badges, this week we thought it would be interesting to gaze into our crystal ball and look at what experts are saying about the future of badging and professional credentials. What will happen to resumes, college transcripts, and other traditional forms of credentialing in a world of badges? Read on to find out.

  • Dr. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, believes badges are very valuable and have great potential as “microcredentials.” In a podcast interview with Jonathan Finkelstein, founder of LearningTimes, and director of BadgeStack project, Kanter spoke about employers moving from looking at paper to learn about the skills and knowledge of potential employers to reviewing digital information about what a potential employee is capable of. Her comments focused on the fact that badges are an excellent way, in this new environment, to document and demonstrate what someone knows and can do.
  • Badges will be “an index of your learning biography,” said Quinnipiac University instructor Alex Halavais. He “began implementing digital badges in place of a traditional grading scale last spring. The new system enables him—and his students’ prospective employers—to better gauge the specific skills his students master.”
  • A Future Full of Badges is what the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote in an article from April of this year. Two key statements in the article highlight the value of badging systems.
    • “Each badge would allow the employer to click through to more detailed levels of evidence and explanation—documents, assessment results, hyperlinks, video, and more.”
    • “Compared with the new open badge systems, the standard college transcript looks like a sad and archaic thing.Its considerable value is not based on the information it provides, which is paltry. What does a letter grade in a course often described only by the combination of a generic department label and an arbitrary number (e.g. Econ 302) really mean? Nobody knows, which is why accredited colleges often don’t trust that information for the purposes of credit transfer, even when it comes from other accredited colleges.”
  • Additionally, as CBS Moneywatch noted in the fall of 2011, “The traditional college degree may not be as necessary in the future if the concept of so-called digital badges takes off. People who earn digital badges signify to employers what their skills and knowledge are regardless of whether or not they possess a degree.”

As YALSA continues to develop their badging project, the idea of providing those working with teens in libraries opportunities to learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill within this new credentialing environment, is at the forefront of planning and development.

You can read all of YALSA’s posts on badges and the association’s Badges for Lifelong Learning Project.

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