To understand the importance of Open Badges it is crucial to understand the digital context and ask yourself a few questions: how do the skills identification systems required in the digital age and in an increasingly fast and responsive professional environment vary? How can these skills be validated and rendered recognisable, with the awareness that learning occurs mainly through informal and/or non-formal channels? An Open Badge may represent the appropriate tool to consolidate and validate business skills, whether they are related to soft skills or technical and professional know-how that are far removed from the traditional academic world by definition. From skills to roles An Open Badge can be used at multiple levels in an organisation:
- to assess a specific skill (e.g. the level of knowledge of a foreign language)
- to assess skills associated with a role (e.g. the skills of the “trainer”)
- to attest the completion of a training course in order to be “qualified” (the “Volunteer” in Expo 2015 or gaining the OVS Store Manager Diploma).
An Open Badge undoubtedly ensures enough flexibility of use for the assessment of both micro skills and objectives, as well as groups of diverse skills and roles. The complexity and the potential for use increase when the system is used not only as isolated recognition, but integrated into the company training system. “Issuer” companies (which issue open badges) which have begun using them have noted:
- an increase in the percentage of completion of online courses
- greater recognition and understanding of business skills and associated professional relationships
- an interesting and useful geo-localisation of the all the skills in the company throughout the world
- added value on the market for the company and its people with more views on their social profiles
- an increase in confidence and a positive approach to digital culture.
Using open badges also means launching an Employer branding process: the badge issuer company can build a reputation for itself as a brand of real value in the market in terms of certifying certain skills. So? Open Badges or Certification? They are both tools for assessing skills and can potentially coexist, combine and complement each other. Barbara Ramazzotti