One of the main insights of the desk research phase was that publications and research on digital credentials often focus on special aspects of the credentialing ecosystem.  As a result of this focus,  they do not provide an answer to the question of scalability- why is badging developing so slowly ? 

Understanding the factors slowing down scalability is the key to unfolding badges’ potential to bring people with distance to the labour market closer to finding employment, by helping them develop and present their skills and qualifications to potential employers.  Where people cannot receive credit and attestation for their skills and competencies, motivation for further learning and skills development may be lessened, as there is no conceivable reward or benefit compared to the effort involved.

We came to realise early that our target group in itself is not homogenous, but comprises different population segments with different factors determining the type of difficulties accessing the labour market despite being (potentially) qualified.

We went on to better understand both the learners and the stakeholders, through qualitative research in the form  of interviews. We interviewed at least 16 learners / skill bearers from the main target group, and 16 representatives from the assumed stakeholders, in each Norway, Germany and Netherlands.

Learners, skill bearers, humans

Our main target group being people distant to the labout market, we talked with those that we believe could benefit from digital badges and credentials. But to find out what they really need, if digital badges solves their pains, and what would be needed to achieve this, we talked to them.

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Stakeholders: Providers, mediators, consumers

The “market” for digital credentials being a market place with many stakeholders, players and organisations, we investigated what their situation, interest and requirements are. We focused on 6 main ones:

  • Employers  
  • Policy Makers
  • Commercial lobbyists
  • Municipalities
  • Educational advocacy organisations
  • Unemployment agencies 
  • Non-formal and Informal learning organisations
  • Formal Education providers

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