This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.
As a portal for online courses and training, SkilledUp is a logical candidate to explore the future of the online credentialing world. SkilledUp’s Content Director Brad Zomick releases the first in a series of feature posts on their blog seeking to broadly answer the question: “What does the degree of 2020/2030 look like?” The entire series will explore 4 types of credentials available now – test-based credentials, online badges, completion certificates, and online certificates – and examine the following questions:
- Why do these platforms exist? What purpose do they serve?
- How do they assess skills, knowledge and intellect?
- What is the value for employers? Job-seekers? Self-learners?
This first post focuses on test-based credentialing, with a small exploration into the world of badges. Zomick dives into a description and review of the following modes of test-based credentialing:
- What it is: ExpertRating is an India-based web-based testing and certification platform, with over 300 40-question tests that are used by all of the major freelance platforms, including: Elance, oDesk, and Freelancer.com. Tests are offered to freelancers for free, or a low price ($5), as a means to benchmark their skills and publish the results to their profiles.
- Findings: Tests on different platforms used the same exact 40 question test bank, with answer keys for the various test modules easily available online. There were mixed reviews regarding the quality of ExpertRating’s testing. Despite a less than stellar online reputation, however, ExpertRating’s tests are used tens of thousands of times a month. Anecdotally, employers found the value of the tests greater for narrowing down huge groups of similar candidates, rather than actually choosing a specific one.
- What it is: Smarterer uses crowdsourced questions that are then reviewed by the Smarterer team. Adaptive testing techniques allow them to accurately assess one’s abilities in 10 questions and less than a few minutes. Tests are very short and are designed to take no longer than a couple of minutes. Expert users can both contribute and create their own tests, and the crowdsourced nature of the questions reduces the potential issue of cheating.
- Findings: Smarterer is clever in how they address scoring, by using the Glicko scoring system, with a score output on an 800 point scale similar to the GMAT. Smarterer may have a greater use in online education. Co-founder Dave Balter says, “The deeper we got, the closer we came to the realization that people were using the system for much more intrinsic purposes… to understand if they were growing or not.” This potential use can help online learners to get the feedback that is often missing in a one-directional video lecture.
- Programmer Testing – a few examples
- Gild – Gild is a new approach to rating programmers — rather than have the individuals go through a specific series of tests, Gild instead finds users’ high quality code on Github or other popular programming hangouts online and grades users based on that.
- CodeEval is a platform that enables companies to create online coding challenges and have applicants show their direct skills by enrolling in the challenges.
- InterviewStreet combines the CodeEval challenge concept and the Gild employer-focused concept. Rather than create an open platform where anyone can apply, InterviewStreet only allows client companies to invite candidates to take online challenges. Additionally, InterviewStreet has created a library of challenges and tests that any company can use, but also allows companies to create their own challenges.
- Applicant Testing
- ProveIt has over a thousand different assessments and has positioned itself as a talent management platform that can help companies attract and cultivate talented employees. In addition to testing job applicants, ProveIt is used to monitor employee engagement and gauge leadership potential.
- EmployTest on the other hand is strictly focused on pre-employment testing, offering over 800 different tests.
- Both offer multiple-choice assessments covering administrative, clerical, general computing, and industry specialties. As part of the job application process, companies can get a quick and accurate assessment of job skills, knowledge, behavioral tendencies and aptitude, and at the same time allow employers to quickly weed through large volumes of applicants.
On badges, SkilledUp provides a brief history of the badge movement, Mozilla’s Open Badges, badge supporters such as P2PU, Credly, and BadgeOS and other private badge developers, such as CrowdFlower. Zomick notes that the badge movement could still be seeking some centralized organization in order to cement its promise as a credentialing tool.
SkilledUp.com is a portal for online courses and training. We believe that the best and worst thing about online education is that there is a lot out there and its hard to find what matches your needs. There are hundreds of people ready to teach you something via an online course. Some are free; some are expensive; some are wastes of time; and some are just a fabulous use of time. We’re trying to help make it easier to compare and make the right choice.