Alternative Credentialing

Over the last year, a wide-ranging public conversation about the current state of research on recognition and accreditation systems for informal and interest-driven learning has captured the attention of researchers, educators, and technology makers in the digital media and learning community.

In the digital age, learning happens everywhere — in school, after school and at home — but it is difficult for learners to gain recognition for their skills developed outside of classroom settings. The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub strives to understand and examine how new and alternative forms of evaluation are emerging and displayed in digitally enabled environments in areas such as fine arts, literature, digital storytelling, films, documentaries, performances, animation, digital arts, and gaming.

Through its research network on connected learning and a newly formed working group, the Research Hub is analyzing alternative evaluating mechanisms in the digital environment and exploring the benefits and potential shortcomings/dangers of the new era of evaluations of creative productions in today’s world.

The Research Hub is supporting and highlighting research on a dynamic range of alternative evaluation systems including competitions, contests, rating, ranking, “liking”, digital badge rewards, and open critiquing and feedback, while taking into consideration how current and past research can inform these debates.

The Research Hub sees alternative credentialing as one intriguing model that supports an alternative system for identifying, recognizing and accounting for new knowledge, skills, and achievements and measuring the value of informal learning.

Following a similar trajectory as the Research Hub, the DML Competition has recently turned its focus towards a research badge development competition as an extension of its 2012 competition, Badges for Lifelong Learning.