digital badges education

The Importance of Digital Badges in Education

Giovanna Pergher
Inês Oliveira

Marketing Manager

Jun 23, 2021
5 min

How the new trend of Digital Education influences decision-making for traditional institutions: the need to implement new techniques and adapt to digital solutions

It’s a known fact that the world of online education has grown substantially over the last few months.

The world went through a changing and challenging period, and the education field might have been one of the most affected by the pandemic.

But what does this mean for schools and the already existing digital academies?

The concept of having Digital Certificates might not be familiar to every educational entity, but sure it’s a needed one to manage. And I don’t mean just for digital platforms providing online courses.

This digital change affects schools, universities, and all educational entities with a physical space too.

(If you want to get a comprehensive understanding of Digital Badges, we built this article a while back that addresses all things related to it.)

Let’s dive in into the most asked questions on the topic of Education and Digital Badges.

What are Digital Badges and Digital Certificates in the Education field?

Digital Badges or Digital Certificates are digital validated documents created to celebrate a student’s accomplishment. By definition, these credentials include the skills developed and earned during the program/course, in a particular field of expertise.

They can be used to substitute the traditional degree Certificate, including all the details and fields the physical credential would have. Alternatively, a Digital Certificate can also substitute a physical document, while still including an online validation process to ensure its credibility.

When it comes to the Certificates' design, and depending on the software used, the entity has the freedom to include the course’s degree and grade, as well as the logo, and as many fields as they wish.

Nonetheless, all Digital Credentials should be verified by the issuing entity, and personal to the student. In other words, they should be unique and assured that they can’t be transferred to others.

What is the relevance of Digital Badges and Digital Certificates for Students?  

Although Digital Credentials are being used for different purposes, issuing them can go a long way for universities, as it promotes their online visibility amongst future students. Let’s have a look at the reasons why Digital Badges are a good addition to any university:

Following the new format résumé trend  

More often, we see digital portfolios and résumé-formatted websites being created and used as job applications.

In fact, when applying to a job online, most platforms already have a field for candidates to share their website or digital portfolio.

However, videos, websites and portfolios are just three examples of new ways to build an online CV.

The way we apply for a job has changed a lot over the past few years, and it’s no secret that recently graduated students have always had a hard time applying for a first job. In fact, since last year, the competition has increased, and finding new and creative ways to present one’s personal résumé is essential.

And Digital Badges can become an important ally to keep up with this change.

We already know that Digital Badges and Digital Certificates are the new way to issue traditional certificates. Understandably, this goes hand-in-hand with the new format résumé trend, as both can be paired to benefit the student and the institution.

How is that?

Your students can easily include the issued badge in their online CV: a small formatted digital credential that includes the institution logo, grade, course, and the learned skills.  

Not only will this build a stronger brand authority amongst the community, as it will also increase the visibility of your brand in the digital world.

You will be growing and supporting this new trend, consequently increasing the odds to be featured in your students’ digital CVs.  

Easiness of use combined with strong authority

International and Erasmus students can represent a significant part of your student body.  

Your program’s visibility overseas can go a long way to create a stronger authority and rank higher compared to other institutions.

Offering the option to issue Digital Badges and Certificates might motivate your students (a factor we will see next) to a new level. And so, having the badges easily handed to them will certainly differentiate you from other universities/schools/programs.

Your students will have access to their completed degrees, courses, and skills, in an online format, and in a much faster way.

However, most traditional institutions still haven’t implemented the use of Digital Badges.

The reason being that there’s still some confusion on the credibility and role that these types of credentials play as representing official certificates.

Following several studies on this topic, mainly the one from Stefaniak, J., Carey, K., we understand that there is a misconception around credentials' digitalization.

The credibility of Digital Certificates is being debated due to the increasing trend of using Digital Badges as participation badges, and not solely as a degree completion credentials. In reality, Digital Badges are serving multiple industries, such as events, webinars and others.

As we become more aware of the relevance Digital Badges have, and their tendency to grow as popular means of online promotion, it’s important to note that online credentials can represent both sides (participation and degree). And still, it won't affect a program’s credibility.

By having digital badges issued, you won't be competing with participation badges. Both are valid forms of celebrating an accomplishment and shouldn’t be compared.

In reality, the idea behind Digital Badges is not to contest with the seriousness of physical certificates, but instead compliment it. It's a form of partnership between the entity and the student.

Digital Certificates combine the use of being a credential document, and of introducing more flexibility to the traditional certification process.

And this takes us to our next topic.

Issuing LinkedIn Certificates

Following the new résumé trend, we can claim that the most used professional platform to showcase one’s CV is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the professional platform to build and extend our network, connect with others, and share our achieved goals.

In the last topic, we saw the importance of keeping up with new trends, mainly the ones that directly impact your business. So, to be conscious of the role LinkedIn plays, promotion wise, and how/why it matters so much for companies, is to be cautious and smart.

Specially, in the world of education.

We know that the benefits behind Online Certificates is mainly their easiness of use and adaptability to the digital world. But Digital Badges add to both these uses, by being intentionally adapted for online sharing too.

In fact, LinkedIn has a specific field to add Digital Credentials and Certificates, while linking them to the issuer company or institution.

If you have a digital academy or running an online digital course, you are probably familiar with the concept. Even so, the story is no different for universities and schools.

When we talked about the importance of foreign students, we noted that having digital badges would be opening up a new way to increasing visibility overseas. Now, going back to this topic, we can connect LinkedIn to it.

As mentioned already, LinkedIn is the place to share accomplishments, degrees taken and, above all, to look good in front of your network.

By using Digital Badges, you are conquering a new level of visibility that you normally wouldn’t reach with traditional promotional strategies.

In fact, these online documents can become your most valuable asset when it comes to social media marketing.

Digital Advertising is saturated, and to conquer new customers online you have to think differently. Having Digital Badges as an ally will allow your students to start a conversation about your company on LinkedIn.

And what better social media platform to grow authority than this one?

While Instagram and Facebook can be great for visibility, LinkedIn has the serious and professional tone most universities and digital academies are looking for, making it the right and safe choice.

Conclusion

We’ve addressed the importance of Digital Badges for the Education field. And although these were not the only points where Digital Badges can contribute, this article is meant to add to the already existing studies around this topic by giving it a new perspective.

Overall, we saw the controversy that exists in the world of Digital Badges, and how you can benefit from their use.  

Having a strong promotional marketing strategy can be a tough accomplishment when there’s so much competition around you. So, using customer data and connecting with your target market in their social media preferred space will always be the most valuable strategy you can pursue.

Although Digital Badges are a fairly recent subject, subscribing to this idea while it’s still new, can reveal to be your strongest ally.

If you are unsure where to start, we created a guide to help coaches and online academies promoting their online courses in three steps.

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

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