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Udemy leans into skill badges trend



Dive Brief:

  • Udemy rolled out a “badging” offering Tuesday, a tool that supports digital badges to indicate workers’ skills.
  • “One of the biggest challenges currently facing our enterprise customers is their inability to confidently assess and validate the technical skills landscape within their organization, ensuring their employees possess the necessary skills to help them achieve strategic business outcomes both today and in the future,” said Stephanie Stapleton Sudbury, president of Udemy Business. 
  • Udemy said the badges and its broader skills framework will provide “digestible” ways for employers to assess their workforce’s skills and make informed L&D decisions.

Dive Insight:

Udemy’s announcement follows similar moves from its peers.

Household names like Google, LinkedIn and IBM offer a variety of skill badges. LinkedIn, for example, allows users to take assessments and showcase proficiency in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat; IBM offers badges for skills like application development and tech support. Credly likewise offers badges, and has urged employers and educators to work together to create “workforce-relevant” credentials.

But despite the increasing ubiquity of these digital badges, employers say they’re unsure how to assess the quality of alternative credentials generally, according to survey results from earlier this year. Still, many respondents expressed optimism about the trend as a way to identify workers with real-world skills.

And as employers wrestle with assessing skills badges, job applicants may struggle to properly share information with hiring teams, according to a March report from Northeastern University. “Most talent acquisition systems are not yet prepared to accept new types of nondegree credentials or richer skills data,” one of the report’s co-authors wrote at the time. The report urged stakeholders to push for verification options and improved interoperability when adopting HR tech.

Udemy addressed some of those concerns in its announcement, noting it partnered with 1EdTech to ensure course content aligns with the most in-demand technical certifications and verifiable badges such as AWS, Azure and more.

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