Ontario Open Badge Forum 2019: Badging Continuing Education and Working with Employers


Hi folks. We’re going to pick it up again in about a minute. So, I thought that brisket was awesome. I
hope you didn’t have too much of it because we have an action-packed
afternoon. I want to first of all remind you that I was running around trying to
capture the notes, making sure the notes were captured at the tables. And I
understand that some tables didn’t get pen to paper, and that’s fine. That’s fine.
But what I encourage you to do is to tell me what you’re thinking about and
tell us in the form of an application for a badge, where you talked about what
you learned and how you might apply that in your profession, in your practice. So
that would be really really helpful for us. And for those of you who did take
notes: thank you very much. You’re gonna have another chance in our our next pop
up design session after post-secondary. Speaking of which, we have five
post-secondary Igniter speeches lined up and the first one is from Debbie Johnstone from Durham College who’s going to be talking about her efforts with Cont Ed.
Take it away Debbie.
All right, first spot after lunch!
Primo speaking position. What can we say? Oh, wait a minute. There we go. Wonderful. Okay, well as Don said my name is Debbie Johnstone. I’m the Dean of Continuing Education at Durham
College, and we’ve done a fair bit of work over the past, I would say, 16 months when it comes to badging and the situation where we started working with.
Badging is kind of unique, so I want to take a minute and just tell you about
that back in mid 2017 we started work on the province’s first cannabis education
courses. And given the novelty of the subject matter, we decided that it made
really good sense to not only look at something from a learning perspective
that was different but we also tried some new things in terms of delivery
methods, in terms of how we structured our courses, and we decided that we
wanted to try starting to work with badging. This was our first foray into it.
I will confess hand on heart I was a skeptic when we started this, but I
thought you know what let’s give it a go. I am now a complete “affection-ado.” I’ve
been completely converted. This has been a really great learning journey for us,
and it’s been very successful. So what I wanted to do was talk to you a little
bit about what has worked for us, what we’ve learned, and then talk about where
we’re taking this before I give you your challenge. So in terms of our successes,
and, by the way, this is one of our badges. We’ve issued almost 800 of them
to date. 800 people, not 800 different types of badges. We have about a 70 per cent pick-up rate in terms of people, actually. We give them a link, and we say: here’s where
you go to pick up your badge. Both 70 percent of them say they want
their badge, and they they pick it up now. What’s really interesting is we do
course surveys all the time, and in our course surveys we explicitly ask, and we
continue to do so to this day. Number one: is it important for you to have a badge
for this course? Almost universally the answer is “yes.” We also ask: did you know what a badge was before you took the course? And
almost universally the answer is “no.” Fascinating comparison. We also asked
about whether or not people think employers are going to find badges
valuable. About a 50/50 split on that, so kind of middle-of-the-road, but we’ve
been doing the badges. And one of the things we learned was very effective was
to incorporate our logo within the badge. It’s given us a number of benefits.
Number one: it’s free marketing. Let’s call it what it is. So it’s great to have
our logo out there and getting lots of exposure. It’s not only good for the
student perspective, people see that and they say, “Hmm, I want to take a Durham
College course.” How do I know that? We’ve had that direct feedback. “I saw this
badge on my buddy’s LinkedIn profile.” So that was a very good thing. Employers
also look at it. It looks professional. It looks crisp. That’s had a positive
impact as well. So the visual imagery around the badge, I think, is very
important. I think it sends a message to people. The second thing that we found
works really well is badging individual courses. When we’re talking at a
post-secondary level people typically will not get something formal in terms
of recognition until they’ve completed a credential. And you know what, that’s not
for everybody. People get really excited when they can get something after a
course, i.e., in this case a badge because now they’ve got something tangible and
they can take it away and say, “Look I did this.” That’s really positive. People love
getting the badges. Important learning number two. An important piece, number
three, is we went to industry. We do have a program Advisory Committee that we
talk to about all sorts of things related to our courses regarding
cannabis, and they gave us some valuable insights. They were skeptical at the
beginning: Is this really gonna be useful? Maybe, maybe not. But once they saw it
they were very happy. Moving forward, we will expand our use of badging. There’s
no question. It’s working very well. We will work to get employer endorsements
with badges. They’ll really like that because, again, it gives us much more PR
for it. And we will have to refine our operational processes because, quite frankly, it needs to be really simple. Really easy. It can’t be a mussy fussy
process. So that’s where we’re going with it. And in terms of my challenge to you,
it kind of echoes what we’ve heard already today: how can we encourage
greater employer recognition of badging? The employers on a broad scale, not just
individual companies, need to understand the value and the credibility that
badges have. So we’ve got to figure out how to do that better and that’s my job.
Thank you.

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