Is The Certificate Really Obsolete?

board-room-trainingI recently was reading through some elearning articles when I came across an upcoming webinar on certificates and certification in today’s digital age.

The webinar is going to be presented by Andy Hicken, Director of Product Development at Web Courseworks. You can read about this presentation in more detail from the Web Courseworks blog.

While I am sure there will be a lot covered in this webinar, the gist of it will be as follows (taken from the announcement):

In his talk, Andy will discuss how new technologies such as digital badges and Experience API could be used to shift the burden and ultimately make professional certification and recertification easier for everyone involved.

Let me first say that I couldn’t agree more with this outlook.

Digital badges and Experience API (aka: Tin Can API) could be used to make the certification process easier to manage.

It’s a main reason we include this feature in LearnDash.

The concept itself is nothing revolutionary, and that’s where I see an issue. Digital badges and backpacks have been around for a long time.

I’ve discussed it here before

And here.

Two articles written over two years ago.

Change of Message is Needed

I think the webinar that Andy will put on is certainly needed but also highlights that this has been a battle the elearning and certification industry has been waging for quite some time.

The technology isn’t new. We’ve had this ability for awhile now.

Creating lasting change in any industry takes a long time, I understand this. But maybe we need to re-think how we approach making this change.

For a few years now the message just isn’t sticking. Experience API is growing in adoption but still being used in similar ways that SCORM was used for so long.

Maybe the message shouldn’t be about replacing certificates, but enhancing them. Certificates won’t go anywhere anytime soon. I can promise that. As long as universities still issue diplomas (i.e. certifications) they will very much be part of our culture.

We’d be better served by simultaneously issuing digital badges or accreditation at the same time as these physical certifications. I’m sure there are institutions that take this approach already.

Most importantly though is that we need to keep educating people about the options out there and opportunities available by using Experience API. We’ll eventually see it used more and more. Not as a replacement, but an enhancement.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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