The emergence of digital credentialing as an alternative to the traditional paper certification is changing the education landscape all over the world. The implementation of digital credentialing in various sectors has continued to change how student achievements are viewed and general curriculum delivery. This continues to focus education on the flexibility of content delivery and the “employability” of the learners. This has also brought about the concept of lifelong learning that continues to shape the education landscape in many places throughout the world.
The expanding interest in digital credentialing promises further changes in education the world over. This is especially true given the various success stories with programs such as After School Alliance in the U.S. In view of the current interest in digital credentialing, many people are musing about how the adoption of this technology impacts formal education. The following are some major ways in which digital credentialing is changing education.
Expansion in some valued Non-School Credentials
Digital badges awarded for valued non-school competencies continue to gain more recognition among businesses and other organizations. In fact, today there are several non-school credentials that are valued by players in various sectors. The use of digital credentialing systems has set in place a process for creating a standardized platform from which such credentials derive their growing value in the job market. For example, Cisco and A+ certifications are a perfect example of valued non-school credentials. Having such a credential may be an added advantage when looking for a job. Digital credentialing is set to grow such credentials as more and more organizations are looking for specific skills to fill the competency gap within their institutions.
Creation of Competency-based Education
Digital credentialing focuses more on skills and competencies that the learners develop as opposed to the topics covered and years spent in schools as is the case with traditional education. Today more and more schools and institutions of higher learning are adopting digital credentialing. This is likely to shift the focus of learning within these institutions towards skills and competency development. This is likely to change how credentials are awarded to the learners. For example whereas someone studying for a diploma gets a diploma certificate that contains details of the units covered and grades earned in the exams, a digital badge will contain the actual skills and competencies developed and how the assessment was done. This is important in the job market, where employers want to know what an applicant is able to do, not just what they presumably know. And it is especially to skill intensive organizations.
Growth in the acceptance of home-school credentials
Digital credentials make it possible to detach learning from the class or a given school environment. The importance given to skills and competencies developed by the learner means that learners who attend home school and those other learners that develop important skills away from school will get a chance to be certified for such learning. This is likely to spur a significance growth in home school and in the acceptance of home-school credentials. This will change the schooling system as we know it and enable one to earn various badges from various sources and still qualify for employment.
Increase in Personalized Learning
There have been a number of efforts to create personalize learning in schools over the years. But the uniformity of the school system has made it quite a task to achieve. The growth in the use of digital credentials promises to change this completely. Digital credentials unbundle the education system and create new chances to develop and promote personalized learning. Now learners can learn and develop various competencies and skills at their own pace without having to be rushed through the system as members of a given cohort. Now learners in the same class can develop various competencies at different times given that the main target is to earn the badge for that competency as opposed to covering a given topic within a given time frame as is the case with traditional certification approaches.
The use of digital credentials continues to change the education systems the world over. Many more changes are likely to be witnessed as the use of digital credentials in schools, businesses and organizations becomes more widely adopted.