WHAT and WHO do you need to create your digital credentialing system?
What do you need to do to create a digital credentialing system?
In this step we introduce the Project Canvas as the primary resource to help you identify your target group, select the achievements you want to recognize and define your digital badges. The Project Canvas is designed to be the guiding document for your credentialing project and should be worked on and iterated by your project team throughout the implementation process. Initially, the Project Canvas directs thought processes towards what you want to achieve, but then guides you through strategic considerations for your organisation.
The BadgeCanvas is a tool that can help you and your team to formulate and agree on important dimensions to consider in a Digital Credential roll-out. This is how you use it:
- The BadgeCanvas can be used as a kickoff for your digital credentialing project, or after you started it.
- Use it on a Miro-Board etc., or draw it on a white board.
- Go through each field from left to right, top to down, as a team or for yourself, and use sticky-notes to write down the key statements.
- Once completed, go through it again and make sure that it represents your current understanding and vision.
- Protect it against changes, e.g. by copying it as an image into a presentation slide. Make it available to all team members and even stakeholders.
- In the course of the roll-out project, come back to that canvas and compare your initial statements against the current situation. If you realise a change, update a copy of the canvas and communicate it anew.
In considering what your organisation aims to achieve, you may uncover a niche where digital credentialing could enhance the services you offer. If your organisation offers formal academic qualifications, maybe digital badges could be used to complement these to showcase students' other attributes, if your aim is to match jobseekers with employers, digital credentials may provide a way to make applicants visible, if you want to foster a learning culture and growth mindset in your organisation, digital badges may be a way to motivate employees.
Make sure that your badges are in tune with your organisational profile. Start with your organisation's ideology.
You may have already discovered your badging purpose in Step 1; the Why you want to start with digital credentials. In the Project Canvas, you can note down concrete ideas about what you hope that badges will achieve in your organisation and how your earners will benefit from gaining digital badges.
From the BadgEurope research, we found that a lot of pilots don’t have follow ups because digital credentialing lacks embedding in the existing organisational structure. In order to create success in implementing digital badges in your organisation you need to know who should be involved or informed. You need to identify, map and analyse these internal stakeholders and make a plan on how to communicate with them. To be successful in implementing digital badges, you need to have the right people on board from the start of the project. To identify and analyse them will take some time at the start, but it will pay off later in the process. These stakeholders' sessions give you steps on how to do this in an effective way.
Expect - and accept - resistance. Start with an agile process.
External Stakeholders: Badge Europe Research on different Stakeholders
In addition to identifying internal stakeholders, you need to consider which external stakeholders are crucial for your digital badging project. In the BadgEurope Project, we conducted both quantitative and qualitative research to determine the position and perspectives of different stakeholders in relation to digital credentialing. For the main part of our data collection, we interviewed learners / skills bearers from the main target group, and representatives from the assumed stakeholders in Germany, Norway, and The Netherlands. Besides badge recipients, we identified eight different stakeholder groups which we deemed critical for understanding the dynamics and inter-dependencies in the ecosystem for digital credentialing: employers, policy makers, commercial lobbyists, municipalities, educational advocacy organisations, unemployment agencies , non-formal and informal learning organisations, and formal education providers. You can find the results of this research on https://research.badgeurope.eu/stakeholders/ but considering your organisation's contacts in these eight groups may help identify your potential digital badge stakeholders.
Once you have identified external stakeholders for your organisations, you can tailor-make your communication plan.
Involve as many parties as possible and be open to networking opportunities.
Gains, losses and indicators of success
In these sections, you should consider not only the gains that digital credentialing may bring your organisation, but also potential losses. Maybe your badge earners will respond positively to gaining a digital badge, but this may also incur extra work for the staff responsible for issuing the badge. Maybe digital badges will be motivational for some of your employees, but will have the opposite effect on employees who view the concept as a gimmick. Maybe digital badges will give some students a way of demonstrating not only academic achievement, but also complementary skills, whilst simultaneously creating "super losers" - students with neither academic achievements nor digital badges for other competencies. It is important to try to cover all perspectives.
You should also determine how your organisation will measure the success of a digital credentialing system. Should digital badges lead to higher enrollment, to staff retention, to better attendance? How does your organisation anticipate evaluating the digital credentialing system?
Solution components and resources
Here you should note everything that your organisation will need to implement a digital badging system. Consider all of the steps that you will need to take, from communication with your stakeholders to integration with existing technical systems. After considering the different stages of your project, think about the resources you will need to accomplish the stage. Resources will naturally include money, labour, time and technological solutions, but external specialist skills or knowledge may also be required for some parts of the project. Try to be as specific as possible.
Whilst considering what you want to achieve with digital credentialing in your organisation is naturally the first consideration for your project, conducting a risk analysis is equally as important for your project's success. Accredible, a global full service digital badge and credentialing platform, have compiled a list of the ten most common issues which organisations raise about digital credentialing.
Working with the responses you have noted for each section in the Project Canvas, try to establish a simple step by step Project Plan for how you will proceed with your digital badge project. Be as concrete as possible. What do you need to do first - maybe the first step is to get the Project Canvas approved by individuals with influence in your organisation?
Start small and expand!