Digital credentials, such as badges or other open credentialing, are discussed in this NYT article which frames the traditional diploma as opaque. What does it mean? The work done for the degree is not apparent, the quality or what differentiates a job applicant from many others. “Diplomas and transcripts provide few means of distinguishing the great from the rest….” Digital credentials can solve the problem, as they are more specific and can related directly to necessary work competencies. They are transparent and provide much more information about what was involved in achieving the credential.
I agree with the points made in the article. I’m just not sure how fast a change like this can happen. There are some industries that might be more likely to shift their mindset and adapt to digital credentials, but there are far more that have been using degrees and schools as a preliminary filter for many years. It would require an entire education of the HR industry to understand what these new credentials mean, how to utilize the transparency, the power of online learning – even traditional degrees earned online still carry stigma – and what digital artifacts and assurances of learning really portray. There are many sides to new types of credentialing – educating the schools, the students, and the people who will ultimately hire them.
“Most important, traditional college degrees are deeply embedded in government regulation and standard human resources practice. It doesn’t matter how good a teacher you are — if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, it’s illegal for a public school to hire you. Private-sector employers often use college degrees as a cheap and easy way to select for certain basic attributes, mostly the discipline and wherewithal necessary to earn 120 college credits.”