An Instructional Design Perspective on Digital Badging

Concurrent Session 1 & 2 (combined)

Brief Abstract

Get the scoop on what it takes to launch or scale a successful digital badging program. We'll cover everything from key terminology to the role of instructional designers and faculty in program development. We'll provide two institutional examples and share our experiences and valuable lessons learned.


Dr. Sherri Braxton currently serves as the inaugural Senior Director for Digital Innovation at Bowdoin College. She not only partners with stakeholders throughout the college while leading efforts to identify, prioritize, and pursue other opportunities for digital innovation, but she also lead efforts to partner and collaborate with peers and other institutions on these digital learning initiatives. Prior to joining Bowdoin College, Dr. Braxton served as Senior Director of Instructional Technology at UMBC where she was responsible for leading the Division of Information Technology’s (DoIT) strategy for end-user support of instructional technologies including online, hybrid, and traditional, 'face-to-face' technologies. With over 20 years of experience in traditional classroom instruction and adult education strategies grounded in instructional design models, she also possesses years of experience using learning technologies in higher education settings, including the design and facilitation of online and hybrid courses. Dr. Braxton also served a representative on the University System of Maryland (USM) Academic Transformation Advisory Council, a group spearheaded by the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation. Dr. Braxton has crafted a national presence through her participation in educational technology associations like EDUCAUSE, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC),  and the IMS Global Learning Consortium; in addition to presenting at national, regional, and local conferences, she serves as an EDUCAUSE proposal reviewer, Instructional Technology Constituent Group leader, and Learning Technology Leadership Program faculty. Dr. Braxton has also served as both task force leader and working group participant for IMS on initiatives related to digital credentialing and badges. Before joining UMBC, she served as the Director of Course Redesign at Bowie State University (BSU) for 3 years overseeing its first USM Course Redesign activities and representing BSU on the USM Academic Transformation Advisory Council. Prior to this position, as the Director of Distance Education within the Johns Hopkins University Engineering for Professionals Program, Dr. Braxton led the online development team in the design and implementation of courses while continuing to support the existing online programs, partnerships, and traditional classroom faculty engaged in supplementing their traditional courses with an online component. She served as the subject matter expert in the area of distance education and worked with faculty, chairs, and senior management to ensure quality was at the forefront of their online offerings, leading the program through their first Quality Matters course reviews and certifications. Prior to that role, she served as a Senior Instructional Designer to the program. As a Collegiate Associate Professor at the University of Maryland University College in the Computer Information Technology Program, Dr. Braxton served as a lead faculty for the Common Exam Initiative, participated in the Common Syllabus Initiative and was actively involved in the Cross-Curricular Initiative, acting as a technology consultant to other disciplines in the university to ensure those disciplines effectively implemented technology-enabled instructional activities. Dr. Braxton has also previously served as a Distance Learning Subject Matter Expert, Program Manager, Training Manager and Principal Consultant within the government sector for a defense contractor overseeing the design, development and execution of traditional/platform-based, web-based, hybrid, mobile and computer-based training and education initiatives including the implementation of formative and summative assessment and certification strategies.  Dr. Braxton earned a Doctor of Science in Computer Science with Minors in Educational Leadership and Management Science from the George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Math Minor from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Wake Forest University. In her spare time, Dr. Braxton is a Certified Registered Riding Instructor at the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Glenwood, MD.
Kelly Hoyland serves as the program manager for higher education at 1EdTech where she works with members to meet the challenges they face in the rapidly growing and evolving digital teaching and learning landscape. This includes working across K-12, higher education, and corporate education to make life achievements more accessible, personalized, and equitable from the start for every learner. Kelly began her career in K-12 education where she served in roles as teacher, virtual school coordinator, and technology director. She then transitioned to higher education as the Director of Learning & Client Technology Services at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where her department was responsible for supporting academic technology and end user support. Her focus has been to find ways to use technology to support teaching and learning.

Extended Abstract

With more than 11 million current job openings, hiring managers, recruiters, and talent professionals struggle to find qualified candidates. However, a growing body of colleges, universities, and school districts are focused on developing a workforce for in-demand fields and recognizing their learner's achievements with digital credentials (like badges) based on open standards. Open standards have the potential to give learners more significant control over their learning journey, their achievements and skills, and their future. As a result, a growing number of institutions are investigating, piloting, or implementing digital badging programs to meet their learners' and employers' regional needs. 

Think of this workshop as Digital Badging 101 and 102. Understand what digital badging is and how it benefits your learners and prepares them for a skills-based economy. You'll learn practical tips and processes for implementing and scaling a digital credentials program.

The presentation will provide foundational information about digital badging, including key terms and program designs and the difference between microcredentials and badging. Once that is complete, we will discuss the role of both instructional designers and faculty in two badging programs. Topics will include identifying outcomes, badging requirements, approval processes, curriculum development and mapping, accreditation concerns, assessment, faculty development, and the learner experience. The institutional leaders will share repeatable strategies to develop a program that scales across courses, programs, and schools.  

We will share our knowledge through examples and lessons learned. One institution is earlier in the process, and the other has a multi-year program. 

This session will include multiple participant engagement opportunities, including interactive polls, think-pair-share discussions, use of Google Jamboard (or a similar padlet), where they pose questions and share strategies and challenges.

Session Takeaways: 

  • Identify the role of instructional designers and faculty in maintaining and scaling a successful badging program.
  • Explore the benefits of digital badges for learners, including student success and retention.
  • Understand how to surface learning outcomes in course design so that digital badges can include direct association with the achievement of the badge.