Earn a digital badge for what you know and can do

  • Published
  • By Christa D’Andrea
  • Force Development Strategic Communications and Analysis

Getting credit for what you know and can do is becoming easier with the launch of a digital credentials beta test currently underway.

Under the Force Development umbrella, Air Education and Training Command’s Credentialing Division has partnered with industry and academia to test a digital credentialing, or “badging” process, for individuals within the Air Force Learning Professionals, Bio-environmental and First Sergeants communities.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative for individuals to start earning credentials that are personal, verifiable, transferable and shareable,” said Dr. Angi Canada, AETC Credentialing chief. “Essentially earning these badges is the first step to building a 21st Century digital resume. An individual’s resume will not only list a skill or knowledge, but that skill or knowledge will be represented visually; and the associated metadata shows when and how the individual earned it.”

A digital badge is a web-based version of a credential, or learning outcome, which can be verified in real-time. Each digital badge is associated with an image and metadata that provides information about what the badge represents and the evidence submitted to support earning it.

The badging process is an alternative form of credentialing that is currently used in major industry and academic organizations such as IBM, Microsoft and NASA.

“Having your skills represented as a digital badge gives you a way to share your abilities online in a way that is simple and convenient,” Canada added. “For the Air Force this means peers, supervisors and leadership have concrete evidence and a deeper understanding of what you had to do to earn your credential and what you’re capable of.”

The Air Force Learning Professionals community -- anyone who is involved in any aspect of learning experiences -- is the first group in the beta test to have the opportunity to earn the learning and development professional badges:

  • Learning Theory Applied
  • Digital Assessment Designer
  • Evaluation of Learning Systems – Level 1
  • Evaluation of Learning Systems – Level 2
  • Digital Instruction Development and Delivery
  • Adobe Captivate Lesson Development
  • eXtended Reality (XR) Foundations
  • Classroom Instruction Using an LMS
  • Learning Science.

According to Lorelei Gomez, Digital Badging branch chief, the test is part of developing a framework for the Air Force that would take the service to the next level in terms of Developing the Airmen We Need.
“Digital badging has been around for a while, “Gomez said. “Think in terms of gaming and fitness apps. Players and participants would earn badges when they reached a new level or goal. This is a similar concept except these badges are validated and verified micro-credentials versus trophies.”
She added that they aren’t just online rewards, but rather contain rich, useful data that prove an individual’s abilities in a particular area.
“For leadership, this means they will have a more thorough knowledge of the capabilities and level of competence of their Airmen,” she said.
The 2018 National Defense Strategy points out the need to deliberately develop Air & Space Professionals through a competitive approach to force development and talent management.
“As part of the Force Development initiatives for the Air Force, developing a competency-base construct that is individualized, and awards and credits Airmen for what they know and can do is a critical component to readiness and retention,” Canada added. “Many people have technical and soft skills that go unnoticed and aren’t captured anywhere. Digital badging will allow an individual’s spectrum of skills to be accurately captured.”
Developing the Airmen We Need is the Force Development approach to developing a modern, learner-centric enterprise that values and invests in Airmen as individual learners and as members of high-performing teams. This includes documenting what Airmen know and can do within a digital portfolio.
Individuals within the Learning Professionals community who are interested in participating in the beta test should email AETC.A3BA.Workflow@us.af.mil. To view the badges and the earning criteria click here.