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Symposium 2022 – summary

The 2nd ICoBC Symposium had the theme “The Journey of the Champions” as we have featured some of the heroes in the scene and their inspirational visions and practices. The symposium was a focused discussion and workshop on the champion journeys of those starting and establishing digital credentials and badges programs. Covering both success stories and obstacles, we realized that many share the same situations and experiences, but also that they can be overcome.

1. Skill based hiring

The symposium was opened by a talk by Elena Magrini from Lightcast, on the importance of a skills-based interface between corporates and the education sector, to meet and align their needs for the benefit of a more efficient labour market.

2. Setting the scene: Quo Vadis?

Jan Renz from the German Bildungsplattform and Matthias de Bièvre from the French Visions platform reported from their experiences and challenges in building a national ecosystem to integrate education providers, corporates and hiring parties, and end users, in a seemless way. Key aspects where the building of a shared data space, (self-sovereign) identity management and an infrastructure that allows all players to participate in an easy and open way.

3. Examples of successful practice: The journey of the champions

The second panel gave insights into the challenges of rolling out a digital credentialing program. 

Esther Grieder from the Humanitarian Leadership Academy presented HPass and their platform, integrating learning providers and users to provide skills recognition and development opportunities through digital badges. Among the key learnings were: Starting small; enable users to build up a portfolio; communicate for your audience; find your champions.

Dominic Orr from Atingi / GIZ outlined the creation and successful launch of the Atingi platform. Key insights were: the distinction between formal and non-formal education is less relevant than actual recognition for competencies. However, it is much easier to provide credentials for a formal course than for competencies acquired in a non-formal way. Further, as a platform provider, ensuring quality and especially trust into the actual qualification (value) is left to the earner/learner towards to potential employer. One approach is to create a quality insurance through endorsements.

Brian Mulligan of the Atlantic Technological University in Ireland gave insights into the (micro) digital credentialing endeavors in higher education. Besides reporting about the very slow progress apparent in most higher education projects, further challenges were: difficult and slow integration of digital credentialing into IT infrastructure; missing understanding and agreement on what a micro-credential is, including the (minimum) size, as well as a process on how to approve them within and between institutions; and the lack of unbundling and recognition of smaller units as entry qualifications.

4. Empowering the Champions

In her presentation, Anna Aslanova emphasized the importance of realizing the (own) value system that is driving a champion journey. This lead e.g. to the realization that the journey is less about leadership, but more about empowering other champions.

5. Learning Cafés

As a practical exchange of experiences and challenges, 2 rounds of learning café were orchestrated by Jan Muehlig (BadgEurope / relevantive) and Rolf Reinhardt (LinkedIn). On 5 tables, participants were asked to talk abou ttheir journeys, with the good and the bad parts, to see and understand patterns, common challenges and how to overcome them. The experiences were then wrapped-up and presented by the table moderators.

Among the insights were:

1. A credentialing roll-out is a communication challenge

2. Cultural difference and looking outside the own bubble

– Credentials mean different things to different people

3. Champions are less about „presenting“, but more about connecting