What is a digital credential?

Posted by Chris Kirk on 22 March 2018 17:25:40 GMT
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Alternative ways to recognise skills are growing fast!

Existing systems and traditions for recognising and communicating objective achievement - like paper certification - have failed to keep pace with the online revolution which has changed how we interact and engage with each other.

In a world of instant access and validation of information, shouldn’t someone’s credentials be safely and securely fit for the age of the internet too? Well, with the open badge standard there is now a tried and trusted digital format to supplement and even replace paper altogether.


A simple and easy way to showcase and share achievements on the web.

Digital credentials, issued from a verifiable source, provide the earner with a simple and easy way to showcase and share their achievements on the web. Allowing instant one click authentication and explanation of what they have done. No more lost certificates, no more CVs filled with unverifiable claims, and most importantly no more valuable skills and talents hidden from sight.

Digital credentials are already helping millions of people to create a richer lifelong picture of their achievements, all backed by objective evidence. Helping viewers to make better employment decisions and the individual to stand out from the crowd. Ensuring people get the recognition and reward they deserve for all their hard earned skills development and career progression.

From formal qualifications, to the more granular transferable skills and working behaviours which employers are demanding to to see. Add in awards, prizes, CPD and membership and all can now be given currency and value on someone's CV.

The evolution of a standard. 

Credentials have been issued by City & Guilds for hundreds of years . A qualification is a credential, but so is a driving licence, CPD record or someone’s chartered professional status. And despite extensive innovations in how learning and assessment have become more and more digital. Paper certification is still the predominant format for their communication.

So, a credential is simply an objective statement of achievement or status issued to an individual by a trusted third party, which when reviewed, helps the viewer to make more confident decisions around connecting the right individual with future opportunities, jobs or work projects.

With the pace of workplace change increasing rapidly, redefining what skills are required for someone to be employable and to progress their career. We need a credential format which can keep pace. Not only for the big formal qualification credentials like degrees, but also for all the valuable lifelong CV worthy achievements picked up in more informal and non-formal situations over a career. Importantly recognising those critical human skills that differentiate individuals. Digital credentials allow us to surface, capture and communicate the vital re-skill and up-skill agenda that will allow us to turn automation, AI and digitisation into an opportunity and not a threat.

So, how does it all work?

A digital credential is a simply the online representation of a credential. They are a visual, data-rich and secure format that communicates and verifies the objective statement of knowledge and skills attained. By using the open badge standard, no matter who the issuer is, the earner can collect and showcase all their achievements together and share them out to be seen and understood.


What is already being recognised and rewarded with digital credentials?

Thousands of issuing organisations around the world are now using digital credentials to provide reward and recognition for CV worthy achievements, including:

  • Qualifications
  • Units of qualifications
  • Membership status
  • Experiences and work placements
  • Transferable / Human Skills (cognitive skills)
  • CPD
  • Professional development
  • Working habits (non-cognitive skills)
  • Attitudes and behavior
  • Awards and prizes  

Why is the Open Badge Standard such an effective method for sharing knowledge or skills attained? 

This open source format for credentialing is now accessible and affordable for all issuers of credentials. This democratisation of technology means that it is not only for large regulated institutions. Employers, professional associations, schools, colleges, universities and charities / the third sector can use this format to reward CV worthy achievements.

Using platforms like digitalme.credly allows organisations to easily author and issue their credentials in this format, with nothing more than an earner’s email address. And for the earner, they can build a profile to showcase and share their achievements. All in a secure and GDPR compliant approach. Just like a digital bank account of their skills.

Once shared they become easily searchable, discoverable and verifiable. They are also machine readable allowing them to be a trusted data source in the world of big data and AI decision making.

All this combines to build far greater trust and confidence when making people decisions, including:

  • Rewarding progression and building confidence
  • Hiring & promoting
  • Building teams and allocating work
  • Differentiating your business and and building consumer confidence

Want to find out more about shareable skills? 

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@digitalme. Consultancy & technology to help organisations & individuals realise potential by making all skills visible. See every skill.


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