Accredible - Certificates and Badges

A Model for Membership Organizations to use Both Digital Badges and Certificates

The question of where to use badges and where to use certificates can be challenging. Should an organization use just one, in which case which one, or should they use both? In our recent webinar with The International Association of Privacy Professionals, this very question came up, and they have developed a great model that we think is worthy of consideration by all membership organizations.

First of all, let’s recap on the two credential types.

Digital Badges

A digital badge is really a digital representation of a physical badge. It enjoys all the benefits of being digital, such as being sharable, verifiable, trackable, and having embedded metadata. Badges issued with Accredible are also compliant with the OpenBadge 2.0 standard, so they can be ported easily between platforms.

Designs typically resemble physical badges, as in the following example (although they do not have to):

Digital Certificates

Digital certificates are similar to paper certificates and usually look visually the same. They are available online and can be downloaded and printed, as well as enjoying the digital benefits described above for badges. Unique information (such as the recipient name, course details, etc) is usually visible on the certificate, unlike a badge. Additional information such as a transcript, work samples or references can also be attached.

iapp example certificate

How to use Both

To answer this question, let’s look at The IAPP again. In common with many membership organizations, the IAPP offers a range of formal training and certifications to its membership. An example is their “Certified Information Privacy Professional” certification. Before switching to Accredible, paper certificates were issued. It makes sense to use certificates (rather than badges) to recognize member achievement because:

  • Achieving the certification requires considerable effort over a period of time, and for the majority of users, a certificate with their name on it is perceived as more appropriate recognition than a badge
  • Traditionally this kind of achievement would have been recognized with a paper certificate and so there is better continuity when switching to this format
  • Many members wish to download and print their certificate for display, or to show to clients as evidence of their qualifications
  • Additional evidence such as work samples, transcripts, references etc can be attached
  • Details of the recipient, the course, the dates, etc can be displayed on the certificate

 

So how about badges? Most membership organizations engage with a variety of other people, be they members or not. They could be volunteers, employees, presidents, people who develop exam material, or volunteer board members. In other words they are people engaged in more specific service roles. For these people, badges makes more sense because:

  • They are a great way to recognize the contribution of these individuals
  • There is unlikely to have been anything in place beforehand, so there are no expectations to be maintained
  • They are less formal than a certificate

 

In using both, the distinction between the formal training and certification programs, and the less formal (but still important) recognition of contributions is maintained.

Accredible allows both certificates and badges to be designed, issued and managed from a single platform, so the above model can easily be adopted.

Our favorite five new features for November 2018

We’ve added a lot of new features and functionality to Accredible in our latest release. Here are our top five!

1. New Credential Page Layout

The new credential page is cleaner and easier to read:

We’ve introduced screen areas for new information to be added, such as other courses. You can also provide your own custom call to action and link, as shown middle right below:

2. Credential Privacy Indicator

Sometimes its the little things that make the biggest difference, and this much asked for feature will allow issuers to see the privacy status of their issued credentials, in the credentials list.

3. Contract Details View

Now you can see detailed information on your subscriptions and your entitlements, including your monthly cost, any adjustments, next month’s charges, and your balance.

4.Kryterion Webassessor Integration

Webassessor logo

Kryterion Webassessor is a leading testing platform used by some of the biggest names in education and technology.

We’ve built an integration to deliver world-leading certificates, badges and blockchain credentials from their platform. Automatically issue credentials for successful test takers and enable automated lifecycle management to handle recertification.

If you’d like to know more about the integration please contact us at support@accredible.com.

5. Additional Language Support

We’ve added support for: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese (TW) and Turkish. We already had support for English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.

Next on our localization list is the addition of Arabic, Hebrew and Malay.

If you’d like to request support for a new language then please just let us know via support@accredible.com.

Language selection dropdown

Why PDFs are not Digital Credentials

Here at Accredible, we often get asked how we’re different from PDFs. Other times people think that’s all we do – issue digital copies of a paper certificate. We usually explain it this way: a photograph of a check isn’t the same as electronic banking. Similarly, a PDF isn’t the same as a digital credential. In this guide we’ll walkthrough the difference between a PDF certificate and a digital credential.

Traditionally, organizations use a paper certificate to recognize achievement for completing a class or program. These certificates would be used to show employers that you’d gained a particular certification, and that certificate would be the record of truth you would show when you needed to prove your credibility.

Continue reading →

When and How to Issue Digital Badges

This post is an excerpt from our new, comprehensive ebook on Digital Badges. You can download your free copy here


The Many Functions of Digital Badges

One of the first questions we usually receive from organizations first diving into digital badges is “Why do people typically issue digital badges?” The answer is “lots of reasons.”

Just like their real-world counterparts, digital badges serve a wide variety of purposes depending on the issuing body and the individual. For the most part, badges’ functions can be bucketed into one of five categories.

Continue reading →

When should I use a Digital Certificate and Digital Badge?

Credentials are changing. The advent of digital credentials promise automation, verification, security and cost savings but the new paradigms can be a stark change from the traditional paper-based model. In this guide, we’ll help you to understand what the digital credentialing options are and when it’s appropriate to use them.

Digital Certificates and Digital Badges

Digital credentials come in two forms: digital certificates and digital badges.

Digital Certificates are very similar to a paper certificate and look visually the same. They are available at a unique web link (URL) that can be viewed like paper. They allow for additional information such as a transcript, work sample or reference to be attached.

Digital Badges are similar in appearance to a physical badge or medal. They usually follow the Open Badge standard so that they can be used by different software platforms.

 

 

Perceptions, Function and Form

Credentials are the main outcome that third parties see from achievements and so it’s very important that they represent the outcomes appropriately and communicate as much as possible as quickly as possible.

One reason for using these two formats for different achievements (courses, events, memberships, accreditations) is that they have different perceptions for people viewing them. It’s expected to receive a certificate for something like a university degree but a badge for completing a module in an online course.

The two formats act differently for their recipients. An Open Badge is focused on a small visual representation of an achievement that can be easily embedded in different places. A digital certificate is focused on clearly communicating the achievement in a recognized format.

 

Guidelines

To make it easy to know when it’s appropriate to use each format we’ve put together some guidelines based on what most credential issuers are doing today, what recipients expect and what is simple for third party viewers to understand.

 

Use a Digital Certificate when:

  1. Your achievement takes a long time to complete. For example: a course that takes more than 40 hours to complete.
  2. Assessment of the achievement is formal (summative). For example: a course that has a proctored and assessed examination.
  3. The achievement is ‘high stakes’. For example: membership of a professional association that’s required to work in that particular domain.
  4. Employers are likely to view the achievement. For example: professional certification of a skill.

 

Use a Digital Badge when:

  1. Your achievement doesn’t take too long to complete. For example: an online course that takes 2 hours to complete.
  2. Assessment of the achievement is informal (formative). For example: a course with an unmarked quiz.
  3. The achievement is ‘low stakes’. For example: attending a conference.
  4. Recipients complete many achievements of a similar type. For example: a set of modules within a university degree.

 

Using Accredible you are able to create, deliver and manage credentials that combine both of these formats in a single, convenient package. If you’d like to combine the portability of Open Badges with the recognition of Digital Certificates then we recommend using both of these formats for your credentials.

Digital Credentials 101 – What is a credential?

A credential is a qualification or achievement that a person has earned, which is used to indicate their suitability or skill within a particular subject. These credentials are visualized by issuing certificates or badges.

Some examples of credentials are:

  • University degrees
  • Completion certificate’s for online courses
  • Certificate’s of attendance from a conference or event
  • Certificate’s for collecting a certain amount of points from a professional association.

For example there are three types of people:

  1. Issuers like Universities, colleges, schools, online course providers or associations that give out credentials for achieving things.
  2. Recipients like students, that receive credentials from Issuers.
  3. Employers who want to see credentials in order to verify that a recipient has learnt something or gained a qualification from an Issuer.