Digital Credentials To Validate Learning
According to a report by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association
(UPCEA), one in five institutions now offers digital badges. When it comes to issuing digital badges, one company leads the market: Credly. Credly was founded in New York in 2012 by Jonathan Finkelstein, who also serves as the company’s CEO.
“Digital credentials are fast becoming the new currency of the labor market,” says Finkelstein. “Colleges and training providers are issuing credentials to provide more granular evidence of what their graduates know, and can do. And a growing number of employers are not only issuing credentials to recognize the acquisition of critical skills — they are relying on credentials to validate and understand the capabilities of job-seekers.”
Today, thousands of higher education institutions, employers, and associations use Credly badges to recognize and validate learning. To combat a trend of missed job opportunities for its learners, Colorado Community College System launched a digital credentialing program that enables learners to share skills that matter most to employers and connect to in-demand jobs. Wisconsin’s Madison College curated a beer brewing course and accompanying digital credentials when local breweries couldn’t find talent to fill jobs.
The National Wood Flooring Association offers badges to help members demonstrate their skills to would-be clients, while companies like Autodesk provide badges to professionals adept in using their technical tools. Meanwhile, IBM uses digital credentials to recognize skills and development, increasing their employee engagement.
Along the way, the company has gained important insight into how and why skills evolve across organizations. The data embedded in credentials on Credly’s network is used by individuals to identify career and training opportunities. And it is helping employers to discover untapped talent (both internally — and externally). While this may sound more like an undertaking for a staffing or executive search company, Credly is proving that credentials, themselves, can play a powerful role in helping to close skill and equity gaps, retain talent, and employers with workers.
Perhaps most importantly, Credly is demonstrating the transformative social impact of digital badges. “Employers, education providers, and associations have tapped the potential of digital badges to close equity gaps — and expand access to opportunity or populations and individuals who are, all too often, underserved and overlooked.”