Credentialing Systems Today, Blockchain, And Why Mozilla Out From Open Badges Was The Right Move

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Credentialing Systems Today, Blockchain, And Why Mozilla Out From Open Badges Was The Right Move
“Kew Hive” by lynxman is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0

Credentialing services help trace learning outcomes, possibly across institutions and platforms, in a standardized, evidence-based way that should also be subject to public scrutiny. Since we know what they are, perhaps the better question to ask today is: How are these credentialing services helping to overcome the many challenges facing education today?

WIRIS

Taking a look at Credly or Badgr, some of the most popular credentialing systems in recent months, can give us a sense of their value today, even if their results are not very inspiring. Many of the same lessons used to apply to Mozilla Backpack, an open source solution who as of this month is no longer a priority for the open source development organization.

Great badge practices abound

It’s not that digital badges are not welcome. In fact, many companies have excelled at creating seamless integrations in systems such as Moodle for a long time. As long as the ecosystem is properly built, badges do add value to the listening experience. Organizations can trust in the badges they award to keep track of the upskilling processes and the professional development programs they offer to employees. Lambda Solutions explains how proper badge (or any type of credential) issuing can add transparency, quality, and even correlate with engagement in the workplace.

Badges, credentials, certificates… and blockchain?

A solution that is able to bridge the many understanding gaps between groups and providers would certainly have a winning advantage. They all refer to methods that validate learning through track recording, but requirements in terms of quality, effort or legitimacy still vary widely.

For better or worse, knowing the basics of blockchain technology is enough to influence the judgment over credentialing, given their evident overlap. There is nothing you cannot do without, in terms of building ledgers of past transactions, and in this regard, virtually everyone stands to benefit one way or other. Which means the current situation can be frustrating on either side. Widespread acceptance continues to be their biggest challenge. Not the only one: In fact, it is only after more people embrace the standard that the larger flaws stand to appear, as it becomes increasingly clear with the energy consumption of bitcoin. Only after a massive embrace we might be able to find out if a certain standard is worth adopting at all.

Tackling critical skills once and for all… through social media sharing

But let’s focus on chairs for a minute. If chairs where scientists sit to write their papers became a million times cheaper, how many times over should we expect the rate of scientific discovery to multiply?

It can be similarly misleading to claim that digital credentialing solutions will play an essential role in the spread of critical thinking or future-proof skills. They might make it easier to post badges on LinkedIn, though.

In an example described by this Canvas LMS blog post, Credly works as a vessel for UMMC’s reputation in-campus. It is unclear if the case allows users unfamiliar with UMMC’s reputation to be able to confidently validate a given credential presented to them.

Powers that be, be still

The UMMC case highlights another possibly existential limitation of credentialing systems as they exist today. Namely, the dependence on current reputation systems. If all they amount to do today is streamlining the issuing and storage functions of already reputable organizations, it is hard to argue that we are witnessing a ground-breaking technology that would benefit smaller, evidence-based learning organizations.

Do they work with Moodle?

The Credly plugin for Moodle integrates with your Credly Open Credit API. It is an independent plugin that is still avowed by the official company. It is compatible with Moodle 3.3 or older. Install or download here.■


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