Industry News

Credly Buys Pearson Badging Business

Two well-known digital badging companies are merging. Credly recently announced that it had acquired Pearson's Acclaim badging business, to establish a "comprehensive solution suite for skill recognition, credential verification and talent management." In return, Pearson will gain a minority equity stake in Credly and a Pearson vice president will join the company's board of directors.

The combined operation will reach a global base of customers in education, industry and associations, among other badge issuers.

Digital badging programs provide a platform to help organizations manage the issuing, tracking and verification of badges. Colleges and universities turn to digital badging, sometimes called "microcredentials," as a way to recognize and publicize discrete portions of learning. Frequently, the pursuit of a digital badge helps a student to fill in learning gaps that have direct relevance to workforce skills. Among the academic clients for Credly, for example, are online college Brandman University and Harvard; Madison College in Wisconsin and the University of Utah have worked with Acclaim.

Demand for digital badging is on the upswing. A recent forecast by market researcher TechNavio projected that the market worldwide for digital badges would grow by more than 31 percent by 2020. That growth is being driven by three variables: a jump in collaborations between colleges and digital badge vendors; an increased emphasis on gamification in business and education; and support by government.

"Over the past four years, the Acclaim team has been dedicated to helping individuals tell their professional story online with verification and context," said Jarin Schmidt, formerly a senior director at Acclaim and now chief experience officer at Credly, in a press release. "I am confident that by combining with Credly, our talented, passionate, creative teams will generate even more opportunities to positively impact the global workforce."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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