Never in modern times have learners been more attuned to learning and developing their skillsets. Against the present backdrop, treating every experience as an opportunity to learn something new and getting the most out of them has become vital for their personal development and career growth. Over the course of years, the way we learn has undergone a lot of transformation - how, where, when, & even why. While some of the most relevant, timely, and valuable learning programs and courses do not offer diplomas or traditional certificates, they are still crucial for helping employees contribute to their organizations’ growth, nonetheless.
So, in these cases, how can employees display their newly acquired skills, expertise and most importantly the new forms of value they can offer to their organizations? The answer lies in the fast-growing universe of ‘Digital Badges’. Thanks to their portable nature, learners can easily attach digital badges to their online profiles. Especially in the pandemic era, where it is challenging for employees to gain visibility for their accomplishments amidst the frenzy of day to day virtual work, digital badges will play a crucial role in asserting their learning. It clearly demonstrates that the learner cares about a particular topic, that they took the time to grow their skillset, and they would like you to consider them for that next big project…here is a badge (or series of badges) that demonstrate why I’m ready for the task.
With digital badges being visual, verifiable, and portable, their increasingly relevant value is not just limited to the learners, but also with organizations that can evaluate their employees’ ability to take on new projects, lead new initiatives, and even grow into management positions—all based on the badges employees have earned!
Here are four ways organizations can drive learner engagement and promote continuous learning through digital badges:
1. Help Showcase accomplishments
The most well-known facet of digital badges is that they are used to recognize an achievement. Be it passing a test or completing a training course. Learners invest time and effort into their professional development and when they complete their training, they would like to talk about it and share it with their colleagues, managers, customers, and family members. How about issuing a digital badge to anyone who has completed the training course/certification prior to the launch date? When you give them an option for showcasing it visually to their entire network, they will not only share it but also start working towards achieving their next badge.
2. Provide learning pathways
When learners are assigned with a learning pathway that can take them to the next level in your organization, where they are seeking new ways to contribute value, they become even more serious with their learning efforts. Think of it like gamification. After the end-of-course assessments, learners unlock a digital badge and move to the next level to continue their learning. With an effective tier-based badge system, organizations can help learners showcase all the badges they intend to offer via their credential program and keep learners engaged while putting the onus of taking control of their skill development into their own hands.
3. Motivate through lasting, verifiable recognition
After successfully completing their courses, organizations can provide learners with digital badges which are more than a gold star or static image. The focus should be on those badges that are verifiable and portable. Information like who earned the badge, who issued it and what was required to receive it will add more credibility to the program. To master a concept or skill level, learners will be motivated to stack badges to illustrate skill accumulation. This not only helps in recognizing and rewarding learners across your organization, but also instill a sense of motivation to return to the learning platform and continue their professional journey.
4. Close organizational skill gaps
Rewards and recognition go a long way when it comes to promoting a learning culture. It also inspires newly hired candidates to quickly start working on their required skills. While the existing talent pool can be invested in continuing their learning journey and move on to the next level. With digital badges you can map the required skills across your organization and using insights focus on what skills your workforce is equipped with and what training they would need.
With Gen Z already entering the workforce, organizations must rethink about their learning & development programs to match their needs. This newer generation workforce which has grown up amidst mobile technology and Internet leads more active digital lives. By designing learning programs around them and by offering micro credentialing will be a perfect match and this in turn will help create brand awareness, reach new customers, and market segments.