Learning badges are visual representations of skill, ability, or knowledge acquired by a person. Their practical usefulness is to grant these features visibility through broadcasting on online platforms, in addition to storing and publishing evidence and data about the depicted achievement. This new technology is capable of transforming accreditation and evaluation processes for educational and corporate contexts, by providing specific information on participants’ performance in training or work-related activities. The ideal scenario for any organization is for professionals to become aware of their own educational advancement and to voluntarily participate in various programs and refresher courses while they are working. The idea that people will proactively engage in long-term and lasting training activities is part of lifelong learning. This learning process consists of enriching the knowledge acquired by a person throughout their life by participating in educational activities aimed at improving not only their work performance but also their family and social relationships as part of a continuous search for individual growth and development
According to US News & World Report, human resource managers across industries are taking notice of micro-degrees. Ninety-five percent of 114 managers surveyed reported interest in skill badges. Taking the initiative to increase your knowledge and skill set can get the attention of your current employer, or improve your profile to a potential new boss.
Advantages of Learning Badges
A significant advantage of nanodegrees and learning badges is that they are often far less expensive than pursuing a traditional full degree. You have the option of cherry picking your subjects to fit your needs, or stacking a set of skills toward even greater competency in a given area. You make the commitment to a subject that suits you. If you earn a learning badge and decide not to dive any deeper into that particular area, you are free to explore another subject entirely, without spending time or money on an extended course of study.
Another benefit is that you can share your achievements. Your learning portfolio becomes an online resume builder. ”In other words,” writes Lindsey Tepe for TIME, ”a micro-credential not only represents mastery of skill, but it is also linked to an online portfolio that shows colleagues, and potentially employers, how that particular person demonstrated his or her mastery.”
Professional development certification makes sense for people who work in industries and sectors where information and technology are always changing. Micro-degrees offer an efficient and affordable way to stay abreast of the latest developments. A short list of career options that benefit from specific and continuing education include:
- Information Technology
- Public Management
These micro degrees can be used to obtain technical or marketable skills which we will discuss in the upcoming part of our blog.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
Hard skills and soft skills are two sides of the same coin. As you work towards earning your degree or certificate, it can be easy to focus only on your hard skills. For instance, a graphic design student may focus on building a solid portfolio, or a programming student might develop a computer game to show his or her coding expertise. These are examples of hard skills—in other words, proof you have the practical knowledge to get a job in your field.
On the other hand, Soft skills, sometimes called “durable” or “uniquely human” skills, include things like oral communication, written communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Businesses and organizations looking to hire new employees often value hard and soft skills equally. After all, soft skills affect how employees interact with co-workers and customers, directly impacting team functionality and organizational output. You can bet employers want to know about your soft skills before they hire you.
Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, changing professions, or simply wanting to stay at the top of your industry’s game, learning badges can accelerate your career by broadening and honing your relevant, usable skills, making you a more effective team player, and a more visible asset in your chosen field. Badges help you stay sharp and get noticed.