Over the last nine months, University of Phoenix has provided over 12,000 students with digital badges to demonstrate their progress in various skills-based undergraduate, graduate and professional development courses. Skill-tagging is now among the leading methods that used to bolster workforces with professionally equipped graduates who have obtained recognizable skills.
University of Phoenix currently offers mapped skills on 85 percent of its courses, with more coming. But what is skills-based learning, and what are the benefits of digital badging?
Shifting Toward Skills-Based Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic affected schools and universities around the world, leaving these learning settings to migrate their systems online. While the lockdowns meant a lack of face-to-face participation, these lockdowns also presented an opportunity for educational settings to revolutionize their learning systems with new technologies and provide a more functional stepping stone for graduates entering the workforce.
When universities adopt a skills-tagging curriculum, they can provide students with an education that helps employers fill skill gaps in their companies. Digital badges offer a quantifiable measurement of an individual’s abilities, which employers can see on candidate applications.
These badges are especially useful now that many employers are withdrawing from the prejudices of degree hiring, or the “paper ceiling,” which can see those who lack traditional academic qualifications shut out of the market (especially Black, Hispanic, Latino and Indigenous individuals). As a result, traditional degrees, while still respected and integral to a graduate’s career progression, are part of a larger list of hiring considerations.
Such shifts in the workforce market toward new skills and opportunities for workers have become apparent in University of Phoenix’s Career Optimism Index® study, which demonstrates that employers of all kinds are beginning to value skills that individuals can acquire without a degree.
Boosting Employer Noticeability
University of Phoenix’s curriculum ensures students obtain and log skills while they work toward their course completion, boosting their noticeability to employers. The courses that the University offers are synchronized to match the skills preferred to work for today’s leading companies.
The aim is to also install knowledge and confidence in students’ capabilities. Skills-tagging gives clarity to learners on their skills and where they need to improve. University of Phoenix’s system provides assurance for students should they need to discuss or demonstrate their skills, for instance during interviews or work placements. This is not only useful in regards to their self-belief, but a digital badge offers an extra layer of preparedness to a prospective hiree.
How University of Phoenix Students Earn Digital Badges
Most courses at University of Phoenix offer students the opportunity to earn digital badges. Titled the “Phoenix Success Series,” students have the chance to gain six badges in their first seven classes. These badges consist of Intentional Communicator, Reflective Communicator, Reflective Decision Maker, Decision Maker — Personal Finance, Reflective Problem Solver, Strategic Problem Solver and Intentional Problem Solver.
Each of these badges demonstrates skills relating to communication and problem solving, which are vital attributes for individuals in the workplace. These skills are also difficult to teach and learn, being largely instinctive and dependent on an individual’s personality, learning style and preferred communication method.
Reinforcing these skills through the deployment of digital badges and a skills-tagged curriculum can help students acknowledge their abilities and the type of student, employee and person they are. This may aid decisions on which working field to enter and how best to communicate their other attributes to employers. For example, reflective communicators tend to present information via organized, verbal dialogue whereas intentional communicators usually base their communication on the responses of others.
University of Phoenix’s Digital Skills-Mapping Credentials
University of Phoenix consistently strives to innovate its skills-mapping credentials, working with labor market researchers such as Emsi Burning Glass to identify and implement desirable employee skills within the curriculum. Students can track their progress through their profile dashboard and then display their digital badges on the Credly platform. This platform allows students to display their skills on resumes and social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, for potential employers to peruse.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is dedicated to progressing the educational needs of nontraditional learners and adults, helping students get the most out of the degree programs to help them pursue career opportunities. The University’s array of programs can prepare students for job roles post-graduation such as roles in cybersecurity, nursing and business. The University is committed to meeting the needs of all prospective students, providing flexible start dates, online classes and numerous scholarship applications.
University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® are available to active students and graduates for no additional charge, providing the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge. This support includes resume editing, interview preparation and education and networking opportunities. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.