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Digital Badges Convey Competencies, Allow Learners To Pave Pathways, New Alliance Report Finds

Press Release:

Digital Badges Convey Competencies, Allow Learners To Pave Pathways, New Alliance Report Finds

“A digital badge system can bring resumes into the twenty-first century,” says Gov. Bob Wise.

WASHINGTON, DC – Digital badges offer students the opportunity to pave their own learning pathways and allow employers to verify necessary workforce skills, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and Mozilla finds. The report, Expanding Education and Workforce Opportunities Through Digital Badges, explores digital badges and how they can be used to improve student learning and outcomes, as well as expand vocational and interest-based skills for learners of all ages.

“Digital badges are making anytime, anywhere learning a reality for learners of all ages who want to pursue their interests with tangible results in real time,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Badges bridge the divide between formal and informal education, and they have the power to transform competency-based learning and hiring practices.”

Expanding Education and Workforce Opportunities Through Digital Badges defines badges as “credentials that represent skills, interests, and achievements earned by an individual through specific projects, programs, courses, or other activities.” A credible badge stores information online through a digital hyperlink about the associated skills, as well as what projects and tasks the badge holder completed to obtain it. Mozilla has created an “Open Badges” standard that creates an environment of credibility and verifiable skills surrounding the issuance and receiving of badges.

“The way we learn and the way we work have radically changed in today’s digital age, and we need the credentials that make sense for the way we live our lives today,” said Erin Knight, senior director of learning and badges at Mozilla. “Open Badges can connect learners to better jobs and opportunities, allowing them to increase skillsets and marketability. In return, employers can look beyond abstract credentials or self-reported resumes and get credible information on candidates—finding a better match, and unlocking a better future for all involved.”

The report argues that it is critical to have an open badge standard that ensures that all badges contain the same information, including criteria and evidence, and allows individuals to earn badges across various issuers, manage them in a collection, and display them across the web.

Organizations, K–12 schools, and institutes of higher education can create digital badges for various skills and competencies, the report explains. For the purpose of learning institutions, badges can convey a student’s core academic-content knowledge, as well as other twenty-first-century competencies, such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

Schools and districts are starting to leverage badges, not only to connect in-school and out-of-school learning, but also as a way to facilitate learning in more innovative and engaging ways, the report finds.

“Learning pathways differ from student to student, but badges can bridge those differences and provide students with opportunities to follow their interests, and connect what they have learned—at any time and place—to academic achievement, career success, and civic engagement,” Wise said.

The full report is available at here.

###The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal education policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. www.all4ed.com .

Save the date for Digital Learning Day 2014: February 5.

Follow the Alliance on Twitter (www.twitter.com/all4ed); 
Facebook (www.facebook.com/all4ed); and 
the Alliance’s “High School Soup” blog (www.all4ed.com/high-school-soup).

Mozilla has been a pioneer and advocate for the web and the core principles of the Web—agency, openness, transparency, and privacy—for more than a decade. Mozilla creates and promotes open standards that enable innovation, access, and opportunity for all. Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to discover, experience, and connect to the web on computers, tablets, and mobile phones.www.mozilla.org

Mozilla’s Open Badges standard makes it possible for learners everywhere to get recognition for lifelong learning of all kinds through digital badges, and then collect and share those badges across the web for real results like jobs. www.openbadges.org

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