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Making sense of the digital badging landscape in education and workplace settings: a scoping review of the empirical literature

Denise M. Cumberland (College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Tyra G. Deckard (College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Lisa Kahle-Piasecki (School of Business, Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio, USA)
Sharon A. Kerrick (College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
Andrea D. Ellinger (Department of Human Resource Development, Soules College of Business, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, Texas, USA)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 11 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The concept of digital badges (DBs) as a form of microcredentialing has gained considerable traction in higher education and workplace settings in recent years. This scoping review aims to map the empirical research conducted on DBs in higher education and workplace settings.

Design/methodology/approach

The design of this study is a scoping literature review. This scoping review adopts the five-stage scoping framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley (2005).

Findings

Based upon our review of the 45 studies that comprised this scoping review of the empirical literature on DBs, we advance a typology that segments the empirical research based on whether DBs are used as pedagogical tools (PTs) or microcredentials. The authors found some confusion regarding nomenclature, numerous theories offered to explain DBs and divergent findings that suggest room for further exploration of this relatively new phenomenon.

Originality/value

This scoping review of the literature helps make sense of the emerging research landscape on DBs. The findings suggest that using DBs as a PT or as a microcredential has implications for a wide range of stakeholders regarding promoting lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling the workforce. With the financial constraints facing higher education in a postpandemic environment, understanding the impact of DBs is needed before making an investment in this arena.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and editorial team for their helpful feedback during the review process.

Citation

Cumberland, D.M., Deckard, T.G., Kahle-Piasecki, L., Kerrick, S.A. and Ellinger, A.D. (2023), "Making sense of the digital badging landscape in education and workplace settings: a scoping review of the empirical literature", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-06-2022-0067

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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