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Deep Dive - How you can use ACADEMY’s Badge Pathways to build engaging, structured micro-credential pathways

Our latest update to ACADEMY has brought with it Badge Pathways, adding new features and functionality to micro-credential programs and badges within ACADEMY. With Badge Pathways, you can create more structured, interactive and flexible micro-credential courses, giving you more control over your learner journeys and opening up new possibilities for how you deliver micro-credentialed material. In this deep-dive, we take a look at the new features and how you can use them to get the best results from your learning.

What is it

Badge pathways allows you to create self-directed but structured learning pathways through a series of digital badges or micro-credentials. With Badge Pathways, you can determine which badges learners must complete and which are optional, as well as offering suggested courses and elective options. This flexibility allows you to create courses that are structured to guide your learners as they develop the skills and capabilities that you need, while giving them the freedom to create a pathway through the learning that is right for them.

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Why use it

Create larger structured programs

With Badge Pathways, you can create larger and more structured programs that use badges to create a structure and a pathway through the learning. By creating a sequence through the learning that guides the learner, you can combine smaller learning elements into a more cohesive longer journey, ensuring that your learners develop the skills and competencies they need.

Encourage people to do more micro-credentials

Micro-credentials are a great way to track an individual’s skills, experience and prior knowledge, but getting busy people to engage with the learning that leads to the credentials can sometimes be difficult. With Badge Pathways you can create a self-contained and intuitive collection of micro-credentials that work together to guide the learner as they build their understanding, supporting the learner as they engage with the learning and providing reinforcement as they progress, encouraging your learners to interact with the learning and gain credentials.

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Present a more structured system than a traditional catalogue

The list of learning available in traditional course catalogue can be intimidating to learners, who are often time-poor and struggling to fit learning into their schedules. Badge Pathways provide more structure and context than other course catalogues, showing not just what learning is available but how that learning fits together and what credentials the learner will gain for each unit of learning, demystifying the learning process and making it easier to choose a learning pathway that is right for the learner.

Offer structured, self-directed learning

Having structure within a learning pathway lets you create a framework that will guide your learners as they engage with the learning. Self-directed learning gives each learner more agency, letting them take ownership of the learning process and increasing motivation. Badge Pathways combine the best of these two elements, giving a structured sequence that will guide the learner through their learning, while allowing them to customise elements of that pathway to suit themselves, their needs and their goals.

Blend together learning programs with RPL

Forcing learners to complete redundant material wastes time and resources, and is likely to cause your learners to disengage from the material. With Badge Pathways, you have the option to blend recognition of prior learning with your learning programs, letting your learners receive badges for the competencies they already have as they progress through your content.

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Key features

Assign pathways to groups or individuals

With Badge Pathways, you aren’t limited to a one-size-fits-all solution to your learning. Custom pathways through the material can be assigned to groups or individuals, allowing you to ensure that each group of learners gets the information and the support they need to thrive in their particular role.

Create multi-level pathways

You can add structure and progression to your pathways by separating them into multiple levels. This lets you break a larger course down into meaningful, bite-sized sections that build the learner’s understanding as they progress and give structure to your overall course.
Include topics within each level

Each level can include a number of sub-topics, letting you guide the learner through the units of learning they need to develop a more complete understanding of the subject, and building a foundation of knowledge that can be built on as the learner moves to more in-depth or complex elements of the learning.

Allow self-enrolment into programs

Learners who are interested in achieving a specific badge are able to self-enrol into the relevant program, giving your learners the option to undertake self-motivated learning that aligns with their goals and objectives.

Manually award badges to recognise RPL or existing capability

Learners do not have to navigate a course in order to achieve recognition of prior learning. With Badge Pathways, you can manually award badges on the basis of RPL or existing capability, streamlining the process for learners and letting them focus on the learning that will develop their skills.

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Control the journey with linear and open progression rules

Badge Pathways gives you full control over how learners will progress through your courses, whether that be a linear progression from start to finish, or an open course that gives learners control over their journey. Make badges required, optional, recommended or elective, and set the number of required electives

Take more control over course navigation with multiple types of course content

In Badge Pathways, badges can be set as required, optional, recommended or elective, as well as how many electives are required for completion, letting you control the structure of your course and guide learners progress while giving them control over their experience and helping them to stay engaged and motivated.

Manually lock levels until they are ready for release

You don’t need to have all of your course content created before going live. Badge Pathways lets you lock levels of your course until it is ready for release, letting you get your course up and running sooner, while letting learners see the structure of the course and giving them an overview of what to expect as they progress.

Award an overall micro-credential for each level

An overall micro-credential can be issued for each level, giving the learner a qualification that covers the knowledge and skills gained from each level of the course, rewarding the student for their hard work and providing easy evidence of each learner’s overall progress.

Integrate with Credly to issue Digital Credentials

Want to offer a credential that the learner can take with them into the wider world? Badge Pathways can be integrated with Credly Acclaim to give your learners a digital credential that provides recognition of their achievements wherever their career might take them.

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Tips for implementing Pathways

Start with an Introductory or Fundamentals badge

Ensure that your learners get the right start by beginning with an Introductory or Fundamentals badge. Starting with the basics will ensure that everyone is on the same page, providing a solid basis for the rest of the course and ensuring that your learners are equipped with what they need to know to fully engage with the course. This should also give a ‘quick win’ to learners as they start the course, easing them into the course and providing motivation at a crucial point.

Choose a primary structure for your pathway levels

Your pathway should lead your learners through the topic, increasing their knowledge as they progress. Consider breaking the pathway down either by learning levels, letting the learner engage with more complex material and building on their understanding as they go, or by topic areas, exploring a topic before moving on to the next related area, building a more complete picture of how the topic areas intersect as the learner progresses. Used this way, each level builds upon the previous ones, ensuring that your learners are supported and guided as they complete the course.

Give people choices over the journey using electives and open navigation

Electives and open navigation give your learners control over their journey, letting them customise their experience of the learning to suit their needs and goals. No two learners are the same, and using these features will allow your learning to adapt to your learners, helping to keep them engaged with their course and moving towards completion.

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Reward progress by offering digital badges for each level

Everyone likes to know that they’re making progress. Providing badges for each level helps to close off one level and gives the learner a boost as they move on to the next, and gives them a growing record of the progress that they have made through their course, both for them and for you.

Start small and grow

Remember that you don’t have to solve every learning problem at once. Start by building a manageable course that addresses a key issue and build from there. Getting content up and running gives you a better idea of how your learners interact with your content and what does and doesn’t work, which will give you the information you need to optimise your content going forwards.

Launch early by locking future levels

If you’re building a larger course, remember that not everything has to go live at once. You can plan an overall structure for your course and leave later levels locked until the content is created. This lets the course act as a working document, easily showing what areas you still need to populate, and also lets your learners see the overall structure of the course and understand what will be involved, even before the material has been completely created.

Auto-assign pathways based on user profiles attributes

Different types of learners will need different things from their learning. Within your organisation. You might need to separate your learners by their position within the company, their job role, the location at which the operate or more. You can automatically assign pathways to different groups of learners based on attributes set within their user profile, making sure that each learner gets the learning that is most relevant to them.

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Create development pathways aligned to a career path or capability matrix

Ensure that your course is delivering the right skills. Aligning your course pathways with the skills and capabilities you need, either through a career path or through a capability matrix, will make sure that your content is focussed on delivering the learning that will have the biggest impact on your learner’s performance and the goals of your business.

If you’re ready to start building more effective micro-credentials courses, there’s no better time to get started. Badge Pathways are live and functional on ACADEMY today, giving you all the tools and support you need to develop micro-credential pathways that will deliver the right results for you and your learners.

Josh Humphries
25 January 2022 8 Min Read

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