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What is a Digital Badge at SNHU?

Aug 26, 2023

Do you want to feel like your skills are recognized in the workplace? There's a way to receive actual acknowledgment of your abilities that you can share and take with you — even if you move on to another organization.

A digital badge is a virtual emblem that displays a skill or achievement. It's an authenticated marker of your professional development.

“In the context of skills-based learning, a digital badge serves as a powerful symbol of recognition, acknowledging an individual's mastery of specific skills or accomplishments,” said Joseph Corpe, assistant director for emerging credentials at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). “It's like a digital representation of an achievement that showcases the practical abilities and expertise a person has gained.

If your workplace offers them, earning digital badges could help you develop these practical abilities in a verifiable way you can leverage throughout your career.

Badging is the process of earning digital badges through an employer or other institution. This form of upskilling is all about improving your skillset to appeal to the job market.

When discussing badging, many people are referring to earning Open Badges, the world’s leading badging format. According to their website, “Open Badges is not a specific product or platform, but a type of digital badge that is verifiable, portable and packed with information about skills and achievements.”

The concept of Open Badges originated in 2010, and they have since become a popular means of professional development. Over 74 million have been awarded as of 2022, according to Open Badges.

Like many employers and institutions, SNHU offers Open Badges and encourages badging to further learning and professional development and recognize employees.

Formerly known as Badgr, Canvas Credentials is a popular and recognized global credentialing platform where institutions can create Open Badges and users can earn them.

“Canvas Credentials provides a comprehensive system to recognize and promote lifelong learning and skill development,” said Corpe.

Once you earn a badge, Corpe said Canvas Credentials securely stores it and makes it accessible to you. “The platform also allows badge earners to share their accomplishments with prospective employers, colleagues or other interested parties, either through email, social media or by embedding the badges on websites and digital portfolios,” he said.

While micro-credentials are also a form of online learning dedicated to developing your professional knowledge and skills, the process of earning a digital badge is often less complicated.

A micro-credential is a more structured and comprehensive form of recognition, according to Corpe. “It typically consists of a series of learning activities or assessments designed to demonstrate a deeper understanding of a particular subject or competency," he said.

Corpe said micro-credentials often involve multiple steps and may require more time and effort to earn in comparison, although the criteria for earning badges can vary.

According to Open Badges, there are a few steps to earning a badge.

“Each badge carries valuable metadata, offering detailed insights into the skills earned and the criteria required to achieve them,” Corpe said. That means when you share one, people can see the work did to earn it.

“Organizations are leaning into the topic of skills,” said Kerri Kellan, assistant vice president of talent development at SNHU.

According to Kellan, reskilling and upskilling are a necessity in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing environment. “At SNHU, we believe in attracting, developing, empowering and retaining world-class talent to deliver on our mission,” she said. “Providing ongoing learning experiences like digital badging is another tool to help us in supporting that goal.”

Kellan said badging can also reveal your passion for continuous learning through non-traditional learning experiences that can add value to your career opportunities.

“Job seekers who may also be interested in a career change or to advance into a new role can utilize digital badging as an avenue to build their skills,” she said. "Digital badges can also be stacked over time and can demonstrate more robust attainment of things like micro-credentials and certifications."

Professional development and skills-based trainings are becoming increasingly relevant in light of new technologies like artificial intelligence software and other future changes in the workplace.

“Badges are a great way to showcase recognition of your acquired skills and competencies that can be shared with hiring managers," said Kellan.

When you’re searching for a job, these emblems allow potential employers to know that you have demonstrated proficiency in a certain area. While some applicants may simply list their skills, you can set yourself apart by offering real proof of what you can do.

You can include your badges on your resume to add visual interest while simultaneously offering confirmation of your skills.

Even if you aren’t searching for a new position, you might be able to leverage your digital badges for a promotion or pay increase at your current workplace.

Some colleges, like SNHU, also may accept transfer credits from digital badges. If you’d like to learn more about receiving academic credit toward a degree through badging or earning micro-credentials, reach out to [email protected].

Otherwise, badging could be an enjoyable way to learn something new or focus on your self-improvement. "Badges can be a fun way for a learner to showcase and signify the achievement of a certain level of proficiency or skill," Kellan said.

Through Canvas Credentials, you can organize your badges however you'd like and share them with others.

You can also post them on your personal website or social media to display your accomplishments. Kellan recommended sharing them on your LinkedIn profile.

If you're already an expert on a certain subject, you might even be able to take part in designing a relevant badge for your workplace.

"At SNHU we not only are providing our employees with the opportunity to engage in digital badge learning experiences, but we are also offering up the opportunity for our employees to design digital badge learning experiences for others," said Kellan. She noted SNHU has created a system and process by which subject matter experts can share their knowledge.

Designing a badge could be a gratifying way to boost your resume — just like earning one.

No matter how far you go with badging, focusing on your development can provide you with new ways to excel in your career. And while you're working to meet your professional potential, why wouldn't you want to show off your achievements along the way?

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Mars Girolimon '21 '23G is a writer with a master's in English and creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with them on LinkedIn and X, formerly known as Twitter.

SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.

Joseph CorpeKerri KellanA degree can change your life. Choose your program from 200+ SNHU degrees that can take you where you want to go.nonprofit, accreditedflexible, career-focused programs