With high unemployment rates and large numbers of highly paid jobs remaining unfilled, many employers are expressing frustration at what seems to be a lack of skilled workers to fill positions within their organizations. “A lack of available skilled talent [is] a continuing drag on business performance,” according to a Manpower Group report that lists the 10 Hardest Jobs To Fill for the years 2006-2012, a list that is consistently topped by positions requiring specialist skills such as engineering, IT staff, and general “skilled trade” jobs.
The past year or so there has seen an accelerating focus on “flexible, open learning opportunities, learner achievements, and competency-based learning,” says Blackboard’s Director of Integration Strategy, Dr Deborah Everhart, who is one of three experts who will lead the badges MOOC.
Everhart will be joined by two other noted thought leaders: Anne Derryberry, an Analyst with Sage Road Solutions LLC and a Fellow with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri; and Erin Knight, Senior Director of Learning and Badges at Mozilla.
Each live weekly session will feature experts from across postsecondary education and will address a number of topics, including competency-based learning and assessment, accreditation and public policy, and field-specific workforce skills development. Course topics will include but not be limited to: open badges and the Open Badges Initiative (OBI) ecosystem, the role of postsecondary institutions in developing workforce-ready graduates, and the link between competency-based learning and workplace readiness.
"Badges that represent flexible, open, portable learning achievements have emerged as a powerful new tool. With badge achievements that can be added to online resumes and social media profiles, what we’ve learned can become – literally and visibly – part of our identity," Everhart notes. "Employers, admission officers, and other ‘badge consumers’ are beginning to recognize the value of the detailed information provided by badges. This is in stark contrast to the opaque, minimal information provided in college transcripts and traditional resumes"