Micro-credential badges are a digital form of certification that recognize professionals for demonstrating skills and competencies in specific content areas. Since 2015, the National Afterschool Association has been working on developing a national professional development and recognition system that recognizes afterschool STEM facilitation skills through micro-credential digital badging. In this system, professionals earn badges by completing specific points of evidence that demonstrate skill knowledge and competency.
The Value of Digital Badges for Professionals
In afterschool, we often reference anytime, anywhere learning for young people and this same concept applies to professional development for adults. Digital badges help professionals demonstrate a breadth of learning outside of formal degree programs. They are valuable to earners because they show a non-traditional pathway of accomplishment and skill development that may not otherwise be recognized. Additional value of digital badges for professionals include:
- Digital badges motivate on-going skill development by providing verifiable credentials that recognize achievements and competency.
- Digital badges can help learners connect with potential employers.
- Digital badges help professionals transfer their on-the-job learning across positions and organizations.
The Value of Digital Badges for Employers
- Digital badges provide employers with information about employee skills through access to metadata including who issued the badge and the assessments and points of evidence that were submitted to achieve the badge.
- Digital badges are stackable so they may be used to demonstrate multiple achievements and highlight the specific competencies for which employers are looking.
If you are part of our pilot project in 2017, are working toward or are ready to apply for one of our STEM micro-credential digital badges apply here.
Stay tuned for additional NAA micro-credentials, focusing on a variety of afterschool facilitation techniques in language and literacy, digital literacy, healthy eating and physical activity, leadership and more!
References and Resources