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Stuck in the mud: Certification between symbolic profiling and real recognition

Stuck in the mud: Certification between symbolic profiling and real recognition

Presentation for discussion at Open Belgium 2020, Hasselt.


Dominic Orr

March 06, 2020


  1. Stuck in the mud: Certification between symbolic profiling and real

    recognition Dr. Dominic Orr Adjunct professor, University of Nova Gorica Research lead at Kiron Open Higher Education Email: dominic.orr@kiron.ngo Twitter: @dominicorr Old Prison at the Campus Hasselt, 6.3.2020
  2. Challenge: A more inclusive higher education. Q: How can we

    be more inclusive in higher education, by better recognising the prior attainment of skills and competencies of learners who wish to enter higher education as adult learners? Challenge: Better recognition of people’s skills and competences and subsequent reduction of the so-called skills gaps between learners’ competencies and labour market needs. Q: How can we more accurately document the skills, competencies and experiences of persons, to improve transfer and matching on the labour market? Challenge: Lifelong learning or the 60-year curriculum. Q: How can we ensure that learning is encouraged throughout the lifespan and a person’s skills profile can be used as a basis to recommend new learning and career pathways? Challenge: Multiple periods of learning at different educational providers. Q: How can we find a way to collect learning achievements in a cumulative and systemic way, aggregating them into skills and competence clusters in a person’s profile, irrespective of where they were acquired? Challenge: Differentiation between huge number of tertiary education graduates with very similar-looking certificates. Q: How can we differentiate between graduates, who have studied the same courses at university or college? Badges seem to be offering a solution to common problems
  3. Let’s prioritise the arguments

  4. This suggests then that progress for badges will be achieved

    if two objectives are met: • A closer commonality between badging and general credential ecosystems can be found • This commonality can be better communicated, leading to more third-party trust in the system Why are we not making progress here? Richard & Farmer (West 2018) argue that this is explained by the struggle for open badges to be recognised outside of their native badging ecosystem. Anthony Camilleri (presentation March 2020) argues – that badges are just too open to be useful This suggests then that progress for alternative credentials might be able to learn from badges, but we cannot use them.
  5. Current limitations of credential systems, according to Serge Ravet* •

    It is not possible to recognise 100% of a person’s experience because only part of it can be recognised by a specific diploma. • It is not possible to recognise 100% of people because the process is often expensive and rigid. • It is not possible to recognise emerging knowledge and competencies, because there is no curriculum, diploma or formal framework to which they can be aligned. http://www.learningfutures.eu/2020/03/competency-badges-the-tail- wagging-the-dog/
  6. Let’s collect some ideas and discuss

  7. Background reference docs Buchem, I., Orr, D., & Brunn, C.

    (2019). Making competences visible with Open Badges. Retrieved from https://hochschulforumdigitalisierung.de/sites/default/files/da teien/HFD_AP_Nr48_Open_Badges_Bericht_2019_EN_web.pdf ICDE. (2019). The Present and Future of Alternative Digital Credentials. Retrieved from https://www.icde.org/knowledge- hub/2019/4/10/the-present-and-future-of-alternative-digital- credentials Orr, D. (2020, February 21). Stuck in the mud: Certification between symbolic profiling and real recognition. Digi-Musings on Education. https://digimusingsblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/stuck-in- the-mud-certification-between-symbolic-profiling-and-real- recognition/ West, R. E. (2018). Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/lidtfoundations