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Partner: InterAmerican Development Bank

Category: Workforce Development

Digital Badges Facilitate Economic Mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is an international organization that provides development financing and educational opportunities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). As part of its mission to improve economic mobility in the LAC region, the Inter-American Institute for Economic and Social Development (INDES) was created to advance open knowledge products and learning opportunities in the field of social and economic development.

The Inter-American Development Bank provides sustainable economic, social, and institutional development in the 4th largest region in the world, serving over 600 million people according to the latest United Nations estimates. IDB has partnered with Badgr to create programs throughout the LAC region to help institutions migrate to online-learning and issue digital credentials to certify workforce-relevant skills. IDB recognizes that providing a portable way to signify verified skills and proficiencies increases economic mobility, and INDES has committed resources for learners, education providers, and employers to seamlessly adopt micro-credential programs.

Image: The IDB provides up to $15B in disbursements to response to the pandemic, in addition to private response support, long term strategy and investments.
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Image: The IDB Group improves lives in Latin America and the Carribean, providing financial and non-financial resources to governments, businesses, and civil society organizations among its 26 borrowing member countries.
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Benefits of Portable Micro-credentials

The Open Badges standard has become the most widely adopted way of creating portable micro-credentials, with recent reports counting over 300,000 such credentials offered in the U.S. alone. The rapid growth of the digital badging movement is based on the security and real-time verifiability of digital badging technology and the portability of the awarded credentials.

Thousands of organizations across the world issue open badges with Badgr, from nonprofits to major employers to educational institutions at all levels. Because Badgr’s digital badges are based on an open standard, recipients can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of their verifiable achievements— both online and off. Open Badges can be displayed wherever recipients want them on the web, including on social media profiles and through services that store and display badges. Badges can be shared for employment, education, or lifelong learning.

Perhaps one of the biggest opportunities provided by skill-aligned micro-credentials is that they represent a way to unbundle learning and address targeted skills gaps. By recognizing proficiency rather than seat time, digital badges allow a more modular, interactive and learner-centered approach to designing and building effective education and training programs that generate measurable improvements to workforce outcomes. Furthermore, when these granular achievements are scaffolded into skill progressions with learning pathways, a learner’s journey can be both easily visualized and also included in a Comprehensive Learner Record that increases the ability of employers to make better informed hiring decisions.

Image: The IDB recognizes that providing a portable way to signify verified skills proficiencies increases economic mobility, embodied through their open, digital badges.
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IDB and Badgr Learning Pathways

A learning journey consists of more than just a single achievement.

Real-world learning involves a range of connected experiences and activities, spanning multiple settings. In today’s rapidly evolving skills-based economy, learning pathways are the essential framing that allows both institutions and individuals to describe their journeys and the achievements earned by those who complete it. Pathways allow for the recognition of knowledge, skills, and abilities from multiple sources, and describe how those achievements relate to each other and to underlying frameworks such as ESCO and the AQF. This model provides learners, employers, and professional organizations with the tools needed to support verifiable lifelong learning and recognition.

At IDB, the widespread adoption of learning pathways is important to advance their larger goal of providing a wider range of opportunities for economic mobility in LAC, by generating recognition for skills and achievements in an increasingly competitive job market. IDB uses Badgr to offer a certification pathway called Project Management for Results (PM4R).

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Standish Group, over 70% of investment projects in Latin American and the Caribbean experience execution delays that can result in increases between 30-70% of their execution time. Since most of the projects involve delivering time-sensitive services (water, sanitation, transportation, health, etc.) to underdeveloped regions, these delays represent a huge opportunity cost lost for the population.

PM4R offers project management training, facilitation, and coaching to teams executing these kinds of projects to increase their expertise with project management best practices to mitigate operational risks.

In addition to designing curricula for those in operations and offering organizations in LAC custom made learning paths using existing courses offered online through multiple learning management systems, IDB has also launched a #movingonline campaign to support the transition from face-to-face learning to online training. Through INDES, IDB has facilitated an open, virtual space in which a variety of resources can be found to support teachers, participants, and education administrators to move towards online learning quickly and effectively. Badgr’s availability in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and several other languages is a key pillar of the program, leading to its success throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

More information on IDB coursework can be found here.

Image: The IDB has developed a framework for organizing their existing digital awards and applies this framework to aligning new awards. Developing a visual style guide for digital badges can help keep teams on the same page, especially when they span multiple countries.
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Stepping into the Future

By adopting skills-aligned credentialing programs, IDB has helped the Latin American and Caribbean region embrace innovative new approaches to learning. By leveraging Badgr, the Inter-American Development Bank establishes its footing as more than simply a financial institution, but also as technology trailblazers in a world where lifelong learning is critical to socioeconomic mobility.