Having a digital credential that serves as a record of important achievements is a powerful thing, and the positive effects that are gained compound as time goes on and an individual's list of accomplishments grows.
To really get excited about the benefits to organizations and recipients however, it's important to understand just what a digital credential is and the purpose common types of digital credentials serve.
Digital Credentials- The umbrella over Digital Badges & Digital Certificates
A digital credential that speaks to an achievement is a significant improvement to a physical credential. They have the ability to visually represent an individual's skills, abilities & accomplishments and are verifiable- establishing a trustworthy reference point with whomever is viewing them.
Digital badges & digital certificates are both types of digital credentials, but each has specific criteria that set them apart.
By understanding what each term means and how they are used, you can be confident that you're unlocking their potential in the most effective way.
A Digital Credential refers to the digital form of any type of record or achievement. By existing digitally, these credentials are able to be shared anywhere an image file goes- through email, in your resume doc, on LinkedIn or Facebook, etc.
Some examples of a digital credential would be a digital driver's license or passport, concert tickets, an association membership card, training completion certificates, an employee of the month award, and many other types of records and achievements.
It's important to understand that a digital credential is a proof of qualification, competence, or clearance that is attached to a person and that it proves something about its owner.
It is common for a digital credential to contain identifying information about the person who has received one, although this is not a requirement.
A Digital Certificate is simply the digital version of a full page certificate. They are similar in appearance to their physical, paper counterpart and are generally used for formal and difficult to accomplish milestones.
Examples of digital certificates would be a diploma from a university, a mechanics certification for working on MINI Coopers, an award for salesperson of the year, etc.
Anything that you would frame and hang on the wall is a good candidate for a digital certificate. By being easily shareable, digital certificates are more effective and reach a much wider audience than their paper predecessors.
Digital Badges differ from certificates in that they are smaller and used in less formal situations. Represented by an image that looks like a physical medal (think boy scout badges or military medals), digital badges are often used for more frequently achieved accomplishments.
Digital badges have many use cases, especially when it comes to the classroom or workroom. The important thing to understand is that badges act like a portable currency for skills, and developing a badging program that works for your organization gives the recipients assets that are carried throughout life.
While digital badges are often used as rewards, their full potential is unlocked when contributing towards goal setting, affirming someone's status, or for identifying members of a group.
Verifying Digital Credentials
While the benefits of having a digital version of a paper credential is great for an organization's bottom line and sustainability goals, the ability to easily and quickly verify them is what really sets them apart.
A Verified Digital Credential is a credential that is able to have its authenticity confirmed by the issuing source. While the process to authenticate a traditional certificate is tedious and time consuming, all of the information necessary to verify someone's claim is baked directly into the digital credential.