Adult Personalization and Micro-credentials

APS has embarked on the creation of Digital Badges for students, credentialing 21st century skills in the process. This pilot has moved forward as a full-blown program in 2016 and is having a huge impact across the district. By creating Adult Digital Badges, we do not aim to limit any of the momentum or take our eyes off of the goal of student outcomes. Rather, we aim to accelerate those outcomes by creating a companion structure of micro-credentials for adult learners and leaders, modeling 21st century skills as skills for educators.

Adult Badges Leadership Team:

Much like the leadership team for student badging, this group is meant to come together regularly to set direction and determine implementation. It is not the role of the team to determine the 21st Century Skills competencies and progressions of those competencies, but rather to both learn from and inform that work.


As a part of the "Definition Phase", is important for us to have a strong understanding of the core elements of Digital Badges for Adults. In order to do this, we are going to break a potential Adult Digital Badge into its component parts in order to define them. These elements are adapted from the badge design canvas and badge anatomy work which was started by The Mozilla Foundation and is continued by the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

As part of the Pilot phase, we will be outlining exactly the types of Badges that we would like to use, by creating our own "Badge Canvas" that is specifically oriented toward everything we defined in the previous phase.

Visual Venn of Evidence:

We believe that the evidence for a micro-credential should be both evidence of true learning by the educator as well as demonstrated student impact. Because there are types of evidence that span the spectrum of these two spaces, we have developed a visual way of showing this in a Venn Diagram.

Open the drawing to see the comments and thinking behind each piece of evidence.

Evidence of Learning and Impact

Student Data:

  • Student Work/Projects
  • Assessment Data (anonymized or aggregated for student data privacy)
  • Student surveys/interviews

Teacher Artifacts:

  • Teacher Reflection (video or written)
  • Lesson Plan or Lesson Artifact (Mind Map, Exemplar, etc.)

Observed Instructional Shift:

  • Observation data/evidence of student proficiency and/or teacher moves
  • Videos of the classroom


No evidence should be burdensome to collect, and should be easily leveraged for other purposes (RANDA, National Boards, etc.)

Audience for Adult Badges:

Primary Audiences:

  • Certified Teachers and Teacher Leaders
  • School Administrators

Secondary Audiences:

  • Central Office Support Staff
  • PARA Educators
  • Classified Staff in Schools
Centralized, Localized, and Personalized Value Proposition for Educator Micro-credentials

To populate this diagram:

  • Use these Micro-credentials to look for Centralized, Localized, and Personalized Value Propositions and add your ideas to the Google Drawing.
  • Optional, but encouraged: Take a screenshot of what you see as a key value proposition within these Micro-credentials and annotate it in the Drawing or with your Screenshot tool of choice (Nimbus Screenshot, for example).

For Earner:

  • Career Lattice Opportunities (for advancement)
  • School/Work Culture Confidence ("I know the strengths of the people down that hall.")
  • Asset Focus on Adults as Learners, Professional, and Achievers
  • Professional Learning is connected to ongoing work (SOO, Educator Effectiveness Rubrics, etc.)
  • Recognition from District/School with leadership and career development pathways
  • Professional Portfolio and Transferability of Skills

For School/District:

  • Alignment (Randa and Badging) with Quality Evidence from practice and student work
  • Alignment with district initiatives and improvement strategies
  • Culture of Badging and Credential
  • Common Goals and Expectations for Professional Growth across all Educator Roles
  • Recruitment, Retainment, and Capacity Building Value
  • Demonstrable and Direct Student Impact for PD

Endorsers of Adult Badges:

APS Endorsements:

  • Content Area Endorsements for Content Knowledge (IT, Math, etc.)
  • Department Level Endorsements for Demonstrated Practices (Equity, Blended Learning, etc.)

External Endorsers:

  • Higher Education
  • Certification Organizations (CTQ)
  • Other School Districts / State(s)

Opportunities and Experiences with Endorsers and Endorsed Badges:

  • Beta and Early access to opportunities for curriculum, tools, etc.
  • Conference attendance and travel opportunities for school visits
  • Additional certification opportunities (Google Certified Trainer, etc.)

Resources for Adult Badging:

Adult Badging and Micro-credential Examples:

Adult Digital Badging and Micro-Credentials Examples from Google Trainers

Research and White papers:

Overall Session Notes:

  • We struggle to ensure that PD impacts classroom practice and students.
  • The potential for life-long learning is an essential component for micro-credentialing
  • We can attach Micro-credentialing to true incentives for teachers
  • An emphasis on evidence is inherent
  • No such thing as "good teacher" vs. "bad teacher", but rather going from where you are to where you want to go.
  • Teachers should feel empowered to design their own pathway
  • The value proposition is not just for the learner, it is for the school, the district, and the students!
  • Is the incentive money, autonomy, career advancement, or something else?
  • How can we help teachers who have already demonstrated these skills?