The exchange value of badges depends on alignment

Digital Badges in Education

In Chapter 2 (‘Badges and Competencies: New Currency for Professional Credentials’) of Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases, Anne Derryberry, Deborah Everhart, and Erin Knight explain how the Open Badges ecosystem works, including how badges operate as currency:

Collaboration on the design of badge systems between standards organizations, learning providers, assessors, and employers can benefit all stakeholders. When badges are tied to assessments that are themselves aligned to industry standards and best practices, the likelihood of finding the right match between a job seeker (badge holder) and an employer is greatly improved. Further, learning providers can use these alignments to offer programs that better match employer requirements and offer greater value to their learners. If the ecosystem is in balance in this way, the exchange value of badges is high; when the ecosystem is out of alignment, the value of badges is low.

This is a key insight: the value of a badge in the current ‘market’ depends on alignment with the existing priorities of stakeholders.