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What Are Digital Credentials, and Why Are They Important?

Digital credentials are the best solution to easily access, verify, or share testimonials, certificates, and diplomas. Creating digital credentials is one blessing of the technological shift from paper to digital documents. 

The rate of certificate forgery has been alarming. According to a study by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR executives have caught 50% of employers lying on their resume. All of this is avoidable by using verifiable digital credentials. 

This post will discuss everything concerning digital certificates, everyday use cases, and how they differ from traditional certification methods. In addition, we unravel how digital credentials operate and their benefits.

digital credentials

What Are Digital Credentials?

A digital credential is a document created digitally to demonstrate achievement, recognition, or certification. They are used to verify or showcase qualifications and achievements. Digital credentials are the evolution of paper certificates converted into digital formats. 

Digital credential is a broad term that includes other digital documents like digital badges, certificates, diplomas, and micro-credentials. An example of digital credentials includes certificates awarded for completing a software course or a certification for a specific skill. 

What Are The Types Of Digital Credentials?

There are four types of digital credentials: digital badge, digital certificate, micro-credentials, and digital diplomas. 

What Are Digital Badges?

Digital badges are a visual representation of an individual’s achievement. They contain metadata that includes essential information such as issuer, date earned, and criteria for making the badge. Individuals and organizations across different sectors use digital badge credentials due to their versatility. They represent achievements, proof of participation, or skills acquired.

What Are Digital Certificates?

Digital certificates are digital versions of traditional paper certificates. Online educational institutions commonly issue them to signify the completion of a course. Digital certificates can be printed and displayed as physical certificates.

What Are Micro-Credentials?

Micro-credentials are digital credentials awarded to an individual to complete small learning units. They are small-sized awards to reward recipients for achieving short courses, webinars, etc. A micro-credential can be any other type of digital credential, such as digital badges, certificates, or diplomas. 

What Are Digital Diplomas?

Digital diplomas are electronic versions of traditional paper diplomas. They are awarded to individuals by educational institutions upon course completion. They are similar to digital certificates. 

types of digital credentials

Why Have Digital Credentials Gained Prominence In The Modern World?

Technological advancement has made digital credentials a suitable equivalent for paper-based certificates. Digital credentials are designed to complement the shortcomings of paper credentials. In the modern world, digital credentials are prominent for three vital reasons:

Convenience 

Digital credentials are stored and accessed easily. They are stored on electronic devices, in the cloud, or other storage solutions. This eliminates the risk of losing the credential to theft or damage.

Fraud Proof

Digital credentials are secured using advanced security mechanisms such as blockchain. For instance, blockchain-based digital credentials are highly secured and protect a credential’s value by reducing the risk of forgery or certificate fraud. 

Easy Verification

Digital credentials are verified in real-time with one or two clicks. Organizations and employers benefit from real-time verification of digital credentials. It helps to streamline the hiring process, authenticate credentials, and save the cost of manual verification.

How Do Digital Credentials Differ From Traditional Methods?

Digital credentials differ from traditional certification methods in 3 ways: document format, means of verification, and distribution.

Document Format: 

The document format significantly differs between digital credential solutions and traditional certification methods. Traditional certification methods are paper documents, while digital credentials are in electronic formats.

Means of Verification: 

Digital credentialing and paper certification have different means of verification. Digital credentials are electronic files, and they are verified electronically. Embedded links, QR codes, or websites can be used to verify the authenticity of digital credentials. On the other hand, traditional paper certificates are verified visually. 

Distribution: 

Digital credentials are distributed via email, social media, devices, etc. The distribution method for traditional paper certificates from hand to hand could be more efficient. 

What Are The Use Cases Of Digital Credentials?

Digital credentials have gradually gained popularity over the last couple of years. Individuals and organizations have come to realize the benefits they offer. Here are three everyday use cases of digital credentials;

Professional Development:

Digital credentials are used to showcase learning pathways or outcomes. Employees earn credentials for participating in different professional development programs.

Educational Institutions: 

This is the most common use case for digital credentials. Universities, educational institutions, and colleges provide digital versions of diplomas or degrees to graduates, making it easier to verify their education. Digital credentials are also awarded in open online courses and other online programs.

Associations and Events:

Digital credentials are used to represent the membership of an association. Non-governmental associations issue digital credentials as a reward for volunteers.

What Are The Benefits of Digital Credentials?

The invention of digital credentials has changed the way organizations and individuals verify identities. The benefits of digital credentials cut across different sectors such as education, health, philanthropy, etc.; for one, it has improved the verification of qualifications. Organizations can verify the authenticity of employee qualifications. 

Digital credentials are highly secured and less prone to falsification. Blockchain technology stores digital credentials on a decentralized, tamper-proof ledger. This makes blockchain-based digital certificates impossible to forge. 

Digital credentials offer individuals a more accessible and safer method to access certifications. Digital certificates are portable and easy to verify. The use of digital credentials enables job seekers to access their resume instantly.

What Are The Benefits Of Digital Credentials For Organizations?

Here are three benefits of digital credentials for organizations: 

Streamlined Hiring Process:

Digital credentials streamline the recruitment process for organizations by making it easier for organizations to hire top talents. Organizations can easily verify suitable candidates’ qualifications, experience, and achievements. 

Enhance Brand Image: 

Digital credentials help organizations establish credibility and trust in their education and training programs. It also proves the organization’s commitment to utilizing technological trends.

Cost Efficiency:

Unlike traditional paper credentials, digital credentials are cost-effective for organizations. Printing or manually verifying credentials is unnecessary, thereby saving time and resources.

digital credentials benefits for organizations

Organizations have to stay updated with technological advancements to stay competitive. Organizations issue digital credentials to verify the qualifications and achievements of employees. Contrary to traditional paper methods, organizations verify digital credentials without hassle.

What Are The Benefits Of Digital Credentials For Individuals?

Digital credentials allow individuals to showcase their skills and talents in a competitive job market. As an individual, here are three benefits of digital credentials;

Skill Recognition:

Digital credentials recognize a person’s specific skills or competencies. A verifiable digital credential will show the issuer and the criteria for earning the certificate. This provides a more granular representation of an individual’s abilities than traditional paper certificates.

Enhanced Visibility for Job Opportunities: 

Digital credentials validate an individual’s skills, knowledge, and achievements. This makes them more attractive to employers and increases their chances of landing job opportunities.

Global Recognition: 

The portability of digital credentials allows them to be shared on social media. Individuals seeking opportunities across borders can earn digital credentials, making them valuable for jobs abroad.

digital credentials benefits for individuals

How Do Digital Credential Platforms Operate?

Digital credentials platforms are the storage platform for organizations and individuals to access their certificates or diplomas. Organizations upload their digital credentials for the platform to secure and issue them. 

Individuals or recipients of the digital credential create an account on the platform to access their certificates, badges, or diplomas. The digital credentials are viewed, downloaded, or shared on the platform when needed. They can also be shared using QR codes or links.

Digital credential platforms use cryptographic signatures or blockchain technology to verify a credential. Blockchain technology ensures the credential is forge-proof and protects the recipient’s data.  

What Impact Do Digital Credential Platforms Have On Verification And Management Processes?

Verification and management processes in an organization are vital for so many reasons. Firstly, digital credential services help organizations hire top talents and abide by labor regulations. Digital credential platforms impact verification and management processes in 2 ways:

Data Management: 

Issuing traditional paper certification is a work hurdle, especially when dealing with many recipients. A digital credential service includes an inventory management platform that records issued certificates transparently.  

Efficient Verification: 

A digital credential service provider streamlines the verification process for recruitment. It allows employers to spend less time verifying a candidate’s resume. This helps save time and resources that can be better spent on other productive activities. 

How Does Blockchain Technology Revolutionize The Concept Of Digital Credentials?

Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger that records data or transactions on a network of computers. Blockchain technology is immutable, which means recorded data cannot be forged. Blockchain provides a secure and transparent system for data storage.

Blockchain digital credentials are stored on a tamper-proof ledger known as blocks. Blockchain technology is used to secure verifiable digital credentials. Blockchain technology has revolutionized the concept of digital credentials in 3 essential areas;

  • Security
  • Interoperability
  • Decentralized Storage 

Security

Blockchain technology secures a digital credential from being forged or issued to an unqualified recipient. Once a digital credential is added to a block, it cannot be manipulated. 

Interoperability

With blockchain technology, credentials are shared and verified universally across platforms and institutions. 

Decentralized Storage 

Blockchain technology eliminates the need for a central authority, such as a university or employer, to verify credentials. Individuals and organizations have control over access to their data.  

What Services Do Digital Credential Service Providers Offer To Enhance Credentialing?

A digital credential service provider creates and facilitates the issuance of digital credentials such as certificates, diplomas, or badges. Other digital credential services include;

  • one-click verification of credentials.
  • Advanced encryption techniques.
  • Analysis of Credential Usage 
  • In-app design tools for the creation of credentials.
  • Integration of secure protocol against certificate forgery.

Diplomade is an all-in-one digital credential platform that offers the above services. At Diplomade, we leverage blockchain technology to issue verifiable digital credentials. 

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