While badges might help employers better identify and recruit qualified employees, there are still some questions about whether this would actually function any differently than current hiring practices. But a shift may already be underway, evident in other new forms of credentialing that the Internet is providing. The announcement from MIT this week about its plans to offer a certificate for its new online learning initiative is just one indication that informal learning is on the cusp of more formal recognition.
This is already happening, to a certain extent, in the tech industry where the right programming skills aren’t necessarily correlated to college degrees (it’s quite possible, for example, to have your Bachelor’s in Computer Science and not know a particular programming language). Stack Overflow, for example, launched a job recruitment site this year, allowing job hunters to highlight not just their resume but to showcase their best answers from the larger Q&A website.