How do professional certification providers use digital credentials?
Organizations that offer credentials for professional development and product knowledge use certificates to represent the experience, skills, and abilities gained by qualifying learners. Traditionally these credentials were issued as physical paper certificates, with the use of PDFs seeing a recent boost in popularity. There are downsides to these formats - physical certificates can be easily lost or damaged and are costly to produce, while PDFs lack security and accessibility. Digital credentials are the modern evolution of these formats that provide longevity and shareability for the recipient, and cost efficiency and protection against fraud for issuing organizations. For the issuer, the versatility of digital credentials enables them to better incentivize and illustrate the growth of their learners. For their recipients, digital credentials improve the shareability of their achievements, encouraging them to celebrate their hard work with their professional and personal networks.
How can digital credentials be used to drive revenue for training programs?
Digital credentials can be used to create positive ROI in several ways:
Learning Pathways (Collections)
Learning pathways (known as Collections through Accredible) are used to encourage continuous learning. They enable the issuer to showcase to their candidates what credentials should be earned and when they should be earned through linear, or nonlinear, pathways. This helps to increase visibility to the next recommended step in a program or series of programs from the awarded credential itself. Issuers use learning pathways to drive revenue, especially those charging on a per-course basis, by encouraging candidates to continue their development. The improved guidance for next steps helps to boost course completion rates and encourages the average enrollment from one or two courses to three or four. Collections also provide issuers the benefit of Learner Flow Insights that allow them to track candidates as they progress through groups of credentials. Learner Flow helps issuers to identify drop-off points, which combinations of credentials are the most popular, and which credentials have the highest completion rates.
Using Collections, the candidate gains a clear understanding of what credential they should earn next. Candidates are further motivated to sign-up for the next credential within a collection through links in the credential delivery email and on the dedicated credential page. Third-parties and peers within the candidate’s network have visibility into which credentials the recipient has earned within a collection, providing additional incentive for continuing education.
Authentic Social Selling
Digital credentials provide candidates with an opportunity to showcase their competence and personal achievements to their networks. This becomes a powerful marketing tool for issuers that get to market their brand and offerings through authentic social shares from their recipients. As the recipient celebrates their award across their social media channels, they effectively become marketing agents of their issuing organizations. Their peers, colleagues, and friends see their celebration and are compelled to click on the credential presented. From the credential page, they learn more about the value of the program and the demonstrable skills gained from the included contextual information. They can navigate to the issuer’s website to learn more about the issuing organization and view other credentialing programs available. As individuals within the network will often be a part of the issuer’s target audience, this leads to additional sign-ups as they want to pursue the credentials for their own professional development.
Recipients can share their digital credentials to over 20 social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and add their credentials to their LinkedIn profile. They get to promote their knowledge and abilities to third-parties and potential recruiters while providing a zero-cost avenue of marketing for issuers. With increased visibility and brand awareness, issuers see a boost to their referral rates. They can also use the benefit of increased reach from recipient social sharing to reduce their spend on other paid advertising channels.
Validity and Reskilling
Digital credentials provide increased control over the validity of issued certificates and badges. For a physical or PDF certificate, the barrier to fraud is low due to access to photo-editing software or PDF editors. Control over these formats is lost once it has been issued to the candidate and it’s difficult to pull these certificates back to make edits or revoke the credential. Digital credentials remain in control of the issuer with the ability to edit credentials in bulk, update the design of live credentials, revoke credentials, and set expiration dates. Professional certification providers that want to encourage their candidates to return and refresh their knowledge can set their digital credentials to expire within a set period of time, usually a year or two after issuance. Recipients receive an email notification once the credential is nearing expiration and another email once the expiration date has passed. The credential itself is updated with a page-spanning banner to advise that it has expired and can no longer be verified. The increased visibility of expiration prompts candidates to return to revalidate their skills and keep their knowledge up-to-date.
One of the key benefits of digital credentials for professional certification providers is that digital credentials live in real time. The credential information can be updated at any time which is instantly reflected on the digital credential itself. Whether that involves changing up a stakeholder signature or actioning a candidate name change. Digital credentials transform a process that was very manual and time-consuming into one that is quick and easy. Not only are digital credentials time-saving but more renewals and candidates returning to reskill positively impacts revenue.
To summarize, digital credentials positively impact program growth and drive revenue through:
- An enhanced learner journey that clearly outlines the ways individuals can progress through courses
- Incentivizing awards that provide elements of gamification to motivate course completion
- Shareable credentials that increase visibility for the brand, credentials, and programs to boost referral rates
- Increased control over expiration and validity, motivating recipients to return and reskill
Download our Professional Certification Using Digital Credentials Guide to learn how professional certification providers use digital credentials. The guide explores the challenges faced around modern credentialing, how digital credentials better serve candidates seeking certification, and how to successfully implement digital credentials.