Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
An International view on Open Badges
Friday, 05/Nov/2021:

Location: Plenary

Main Zoom room

External Resource:

HPass: Digital Recognition of Humanitarian Skills and Experience

Esther Grieder1, Leonie Meijerink2, Susana Lozada3

1Humanitarian Leadership Academy, United Kingdom; 2War Child, Netherlands; 3ABBACOL Foundation, Colombia

Presentation Proposal for ePIC 2021

Title: HPass: Digital Recognition of Humanitarian Skills and Experience

Overview of proposed session:

This session will present HPass, an online platform using digital badges to promote recognition of skills and experience in the humanitarian sector. Given that humanitarians move quickly between roles and organisations, and that recruiters need to make fast-paced decisions about their suitability for posts, HPass offers a platform through which humanitarians can provide verifiable, at-a-glance evidence of their expertise. Humanitarians create an online myHPass profile on which to display digital badges issued by a range of HPass user organisations. There are currently over 17,000 myHPass users and 25 user organisations, ranging from international NGOs such as War Child and World Vision, to local humanitarian learning providers. Importantly, HPass supports the ‘localisation’ agenda in the humanitarian and development sectors, by enabling humanitarian actors from all over the world to gain evidence of their skills which is verifiable online. HPass enables organisations to create badges recognising a wide range of skills and experience (not just course completions), recognising that many humanitarians based in areas affected by crisis have gained knowledge through practical experience as opposed to formal assessments.

In the long term, HPass has potential to be truly transformational for the sector, enabling recruiters to search for candidates on the basis of their skills. This will increase visibility of the most committed and qualified candidates and those based in crisis-affected settings, and ultimately ensure that the best people are being deployed to manage humanitarian response.

Run by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, HPass is a sector initiative overseen by a multi-organisational Steering Committee.

What’s new in this session?

HPass was presented at the ePIC conference in October 2019. At that time we were busy building a base of organisational users, who were creating badges ready to issue to their audiences. Since that time we have gained over 17,000 users.

This session will include:

  1. Overview of HPass and its story so far
  2. How are humanitarian organisations using HPass? Success stories and challenges
  3. Presentations from two user organisations (eg War Child, World Vision, Save the Children – organisations tbc)
  4. How are humanitarians using HPass? What patterns are emerging?
  5. What’s next for HPass?

Format / Speakers

This would be in presentation form, followed by questions to the presenters.

Esther Grieder (HPass lead; Platform Solutions Specialist at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy) will be the lead presenter, and there will also be presentations from two other speakers to be confirmed (representatives of HPass user organisations).

Beyond Diplomas: Mapping New Forms Of Qualification Recognition At European Universities

Mariana Ziku, Katerina Zourou

Web2Learn, Greece

This short presentation is the first step towards a better understanding of the practices that Higher Education institutions (HEIs) deploy to recognise qualifications for smaller or different (compared to mainstream) university diplomas, for which the umbrella term micro-credentials is used. We will thus seek to analyse the qualification recognition systems that HEIs adopt in their strategy to accredit educational offers, except for diplomas, and thus contribute to the broader discussion of skills and knowledge recognition in the new context of micro-learning and micro-credentials worldwide. A randomly collected set of 18 Higher Education practices have been mapped against three parameters on which the analysis is grounded: a) certification types, b) credit transfer or accumulation, and c) quality accreditation of learning programmes.
New types of credentials (cf. micro-credentials, badges) beyond mainstream credentials as diplomas are, give new impetus to global education impacting recognition, knowledge and skills accreditation at Higher Education systems. In the European Union, policies on digital credentials are paving the way for emerging models and technologies for formal and non-formal learning, with the ambition of embracing vocational, university, and lifelong learning contexts (European Commission, 2020; ECIU, 2021). Further developments are expected to ease the adoption of common frameworks of reference in the diverse landscape of qualification types, especially in the field of the so-called micro-credentials, understood as “proof(s) of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a short learning experience. These learning outcomes have been assessed against transparent standards” (European Commission, 2020, p.10).
The presentation contributes to the discussion on new methods of credit recognition beyond mainstream credits (mostly diplomas) that are deployed by HEIs. The origin of this study is the collaborative project BlockAdemic (Development of a Distributed Digital Data Security Platform with Blockchain support for Certification of Education Activities and Higher Education Degrees, This 2020-2022 project funded by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and Greek national funds, aims to create a digital distributed cybersecurity system for the certification and verification of educational activities, qualifications, and skills in the field of higher education and lifelong learning, creating an inviolable educational passport.
Τhe current study was carried out between January and April 2021, with the aim is to map a range of practices currently implemented on credential recognition methods adopted by European universities. From a methodological point of view, we conducted desktop research by selecting practices based on the following criteria: a) they were deployed by HEIs, b) they offered credit recognition practices for credits other than diplomas, c) they were ongoing in 2021 and d) they shared sufficient information publicly about the practice. This first stage of desktop research led us to the identification of 18 random practices deployed by HEIs. At least nine types of broader assorted certification categories have been recognised in the listed case studies.

The second stage of the study corresponded to the analysis of each practice against three parameters. These are i) the certification types awarded to learners ii) the credit transfer or accumulation framework adopted and iii) the number and type of quality accreditations acquired by each course or platform. A provisional categorisation of frameworks for awarding credits brings forth a heterogeneous composition; at least one type of credits is issued by each programme, spanning from transferable and more broadly recognised credit systems, to discipline-specific ones and from credits validated within the boundary of local authorities to credits transferred between partnering micro-credential programmes and higher education institutions.

The third stage includes the analysis of quality accreditations, which refer to standards that can be applied through a stepwise approach and that principally assess the quality of certifications, credits, learning experience, and the openness spectrum of the programme. An aggregated view of quality accreditations through which the programmes are assessed against various standards, reveals that the majority of the listed case studies (13 out of 18) adhere to one and up to four distinct quality standards, resulting in a sum of 27 accreditations in total for all programmes.
Based on this short-scale analysis we can claim that the three parameters analysed (certification types, credit transfer or accumulation, and quality accreditation of learning programmes) show a wealth of approaches as an indication of a field (micro-learning and micro-credentials) in full development. It is also worth noting the need for more coordinated efforts in the sense of transparency and compatibility between the various standards and methods adopted (ECIU, 2021; Habib & Sanzgiri, 2020). Τhis study will be further extended to embrace more practices and to test the methodology on a large set of examples.

Open Digital Badges as a Tool for Regulatory Bodies and Professional Associations

Robert Stewart, Fraser Raeburn

Scottish Social Services Council, United Kingdom

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is the regulator for the social work, social care and early years workforce in Scotland. We register social workers, social care and early years workers, set standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and support their professional development.

Why SSSC is using Open Badges

As a regulatory body we want our registrants to be committed to their continuous professional development. We want them to competent self-directed and self-regulating learners. Our investment in open recognition through digital badges aims to achieve the objectives below.

  • Turn passive consumers of content into active learners.
  • Promote positive learning habits within the services where our registrants work.
  • Provide recognition for learning equivalent to effort invested.
  • Improve mobility of learning data and increase number of workers with portfolios suitable for recognition of prior informal learning.
  • Encourage use of SSSC and partner learning materials.
  • Provide steady stream of information about learning transfer for evaluating effectiveness of our learning materials.

SSSC Open Badges platform

After two years piloting Open Badges, we launched our badge programme in 2016 at []

People can register with the website and search for badges they wish to apply for. The badge criteria will ask them to work through a learning resource, complete real-world activities, and answer questions in the form of a reflective account. They submit this piece of reflective writing as an application for the badge, it is assessed and we either issue the badge or return the submission for additional work. This evidence is always attached to the badge so people the recipient shows it to can review it themselves.

We have 25,000 active learners and expect this number to grow to 100,000 over the next five years. To date we have issued 33,000 Open Badges and collected and assessed between 7 to 10 million words of reflective writing (this also includes audio and video submissions) which is held as evidence for those badges. Not all these learners have applied for their first badge yet but are logging their learning using an eportfolio smartphone app we launched in 2020 called MyLearning. Over 143,00 logs have been created so far and can be attached to applications for our Open Badges in the future.

Impact of Open Badges

Our SSSC Digital Learning Impact Analysis (2020) examined stakeholder attitudes towards and the efficacy of our digital learning approaches. A selection of its findings are presented below.

  • Open Badges has become the most popular learning resource provided by the SSSC.
  • Open Badges are identified as having a positive impact in services.
  • 99.4% of respondents who achieved an Open Badge said they later used what they learned in a workplace setting.
  • Preparing evidence for an Open Badge submission encourages people to reflect on their learning, evidence and working habits. This creates a positive impact for themselves and people who use their services.
  • Majority of those who applied for Open Badges did so of their own volition. Only 4% who applied for Open Badges did so because they were instructed to by their employer.​

This combination of reflective accounts, badges and an eportfolio system has been well received by our stakeholders. The platform now drives three times more traffic to our online learning resources than our learning management system (LMS).

Short term reward leading to long term value

While the prospect of achieving Open Badges encourages people to put additional effort into their learning, eventually learners begin to realise the longer-term value of the portfolio of assessed evidence they have gathered.

“… someone can look at your evidence and make a decision for themselves about the quality of your evidence. With many other qualifications, it’s possible for a candidate to simply show a qualification document… It seldom reflects the amount of individual effort put into that achievement. Having previously held line manager posts, I think this is an incredibly useful feature and could have potential uses in recruitment arenas.” Anonymised quote taken from an application for our Writing Evidence for Open Badges badge

Badge evidence is being used in portfolios for Scottish Vocational Qualifications with SVQ students are being directed to SSSC Open Badges by their tutors and mentors. We are also aware of the evidence attached to our badges being recognised through recognition of prior informal learning (RPL) exercises.

People have also tell us they have used their evidence to help prepare job applications and answer interview questions, such as the example below:

“This is a great thing so that employers can see you have done work and understand things a lot more before going for a new job also gaining badges can make you feel better about the kind of job you are doing with getting more information.” Anonymised quote taken from an application for our Getting Started with Open Badges badge