Educational or digital badges is a new online credential for learners to achieve specific skills and experiences in a shorter time frame than the years it would take to get a degree. “In keeping with the idea (from both gaming and educational research) that smaller rewards and less distance between levels increase success and motivation, badges are awarded for specific skills in smaller increment of learning (Young, 2012) (Bowan 2014).
Although the concept is still quite new, early research has been positive with some recognizable institutions starting to adopt this credential. Here is a blog on badges and how it may affect a local institution like UBC. Digital Badges in Education: a quick overview
Seeing how the landscape of education is being changed because of the emergence of online learning, I can see how scaling down the effort of achieving a degree by earning badges can be appealing. Because the skill set is designed to be specific for each badge, you can set out a plan to customize the skills you need for the job that requires those skills. “People who earn digital badges signify to employers what their skills and knowledge are regardless of whether or not they possess a degree.” (CBS news – Forget College Degrees: Earn Digital Badges Instead).
Being able to prove to employers that you have the required skills and experience is important. Being able to do that without spending the overwhelming amount of money needed to earn a degree is a very good reason to earn badges instead of degrees.
Badges can be a great way to sidestep the pressures of attaining a degree while proving to employers that you have the skills and abilities needed for a job. Being able to pick and choose essential skills and add to your badge collection is a great way to customize your credentials.
With the idea of badges being fairly new, will employers recognize them for what they are worth? “But just because the badges are awarded doesn’t mean they’ll be recognized by employers or school admission committees” (Do Open Badges Matter to Employers or Admissions Officers?). From this last article I cited, the future is looking positive for the recognition of badges, but there is more work to be done. “In education technology and beyond, the Open Badge system has ballast. Administrators mainly face questions about how to further integrate the awarding of these digital medals with outside recognition by an ever greater number of parties.”
Since you don’t need a degree to be a chef, having badges or a degree doesn’t necessarily apply to me directly. I do think if online learning starts having more presence in culinary arts that badges can be useful to add to your credential. Imagine being a chef and you want to brush up on vegan nutrition or butchery specific to fish, it can add a dimension to chef credentials not present before. Harper College offers digital badges for wine appreciation and wine sommelier (Harper College). Once more institutions adopt the concept of badges, there will be no limit to what skills you can earn a badge for within the culinary arts.
Teaching Naked by José Anotonio Bowen
Digital Badges in Education: a quick overview
Forget College Degrees: Earn Digital Badges Instead by Lynn O’Shaughnessy, CBS Moneywatch
Do Open Badges Matter to Employers or Admissions Officers? by Justin Stolzfus, SkilledUp for Companies