Case Study HPass

The Story of HPass

HPASS is a platform supporting humanitarian professional development, by providing recognition of skills, experience and achievements in the form of digital badges. It currently engages 25,000 learners and over 30 learning providers, as well as a wide network of partners. It is a great example of scaling badges within the learners community and across an entire sector.

History and needs served

The platform was initiated by individuals at global charity organisation Save The Children, who recognised the need for verifiable records of skills and credentials , for volunteers and professionals, working in the humanitarian field. As this field typically sees high mobility between organisations, its workforce does not rely on formal education credentials and resourcing budgets are lean, it was pertinent to develop an sustainable and reliable method of cross-organisational recognition.

The platform allows learners to earn a wide variety of badges (recognising knowledge, participation, social action and workplace behaviors), in courses provided by over 30 learning providers. HPASS developed a global standard for education in the humanitarian field, and provides quality assurance for the badges earned through its network partners.

Learners can use their HPASS profile as a portfolio, allowing them to apply to jobs in one click through the platform. Human Resources professionals in the humanitarian sector are using HPASS to locate talent, through specific search for skills and relevant experience.

Success Factors

HPASS's growth and success stems from its network . From its first days, it brought together several organisations facing similar challenges and motivated them to contribute from their internal development into a global pool of knowledge. The organisations are committed to recognising each other's achievements, making HPASS a cross-sector badging standard. By design, the network also recognises badges provided by other reputable providers - allowing for wider outreach on both learner and employer sides.

The platform is managed by a steering committee, with representatives of 11 organisations from the network. This hands-on involvement keeps partners engaged and committed over time.

HPASS's tips to implement and scale digital badges within your organisation

  • Start small - focus on a small and clear selection of badges, where you can ensure quality of learning and clear recognition
  • Enable users to build a portfolio - through a wide and interesting selection of learning opportunities - and badges to come along
  • Communicate with your audience - find simple and clear language to communicate why badges are relevant for your particular audience, recognising knowledge gaps and cultural differences
  • Find your champions - in your organisation, in partners networks and above all - in the learners' community - they can go a long way and help build enthusiasm and motivation - two key ingredients for scalability
  • Recognise and celebrate - small and big success stories, for learners and for network partners

See here HPass's 5 steps to engage audiences with digital badges

See here one of HPass's network partners, VSO, sharing tips on successful badges implementation

In Retrospect... Lessons learned

Use external support wherever it can be beneficial. As the project was funded by the municipality, this created the financial space to develop and start the pilot. Using experts to advise on the technical implementation of a badging system, allowed the pilot to start up much more quickly than if the project team needed to research badge possibilities from scratch.

Make your pilot an iterative process - learn from it! Agora found that the joint reflection moment had more benefits than individual badge claiming moments underway, so it will be used with future badges, rather than students earning badges throughout the module.

Be open to networking opportunities. Building a network of trust is integral to the success of any badging project, so tell others about your project, even when you are in the pilot stage.