Badging & Certification

IBM wins ATD Excellence in Practice Award for its digital credentials program

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The IBM Digital Badge Program was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Practice Award in the Learning and Development category at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Conference this Tuesday, May 8 in San Diego, California. The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), is a leading non-profit association for workplace learning and performance professionals. The association’s membership includes organizations, government offices, independent consultants and suppliers in more than 100 countries. ATD is the world’s largest association dedicated to the talent development field and its awards recognize excellence and best practices in 15 categories.

Bob McDonald, Vice President, IBM Support Transformation, Training & Globalization accepted the award on behalf of IBM. I was honored to accompany Bob to the event.

According to the ATD selection jury, IBM received the award for its proven practices which meet a demonstrated need, have appropriate design values, are aligned with other talent strategies, and deliver sustained, clear and measurable results.The award represents further validation for the IBM Digital Badge Program as a leader in the IT digital credential arena and culminates a year of recognition for the program. The program received the 2017 IT Certification Council Innovation of the Year Award, the 2017 IMS Global Consortium Platinum Award and the 2017 Silver Medal in the Online Learning Awards.

Further, this is a validation for Open Badges as a technology which is helping organizations transform learning and development programs.

Special thank you to Caryn Buddie, senior managing consultant in IBM’s Enterprise Career & Skills group, for developing the winning entry — and to the Credly/Acclaim team for their valued partnership. Special thanks also to the entire Digital Credentials teams at IBM and the leadership team which inspires and rewards innovation.

And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone on this distribution list for all you have done and are doing to support transformation in this important area!

IBM’s Digital Badge Program has delivered significant value:

  • Over 470,000 badges have been earned by the IBM workforce!
  • A least 51% of IBM employees have at least one digital badge
  • 68% of badges earned by IBMers align to IBM’s Strategic Skills

The IBM Digital Badge Program has impacted nearly every area of IBM’s business, including a dramatic increase in the latest skills needed by IBM and its stakeholders. The program now includes more than 1,500 activities and 300,000 credential earners in every country in the world.

Digital badges are disrupting the certification space, particularly in the IT sector, where labor market and technology changes have accelerated the pace of change; the world need’s a credential program which can move quickly to recognize “liquid skills” that rapidly change.

The IBM Digital Credential Program provides more incentives than ever to earn credentials because of the value they provide building social eminence in ways not possible before. The transparency in digital badges makes it easy for employers to see and verify what knowledge, skills, passions and abilities a credential represents – at the nano level. And credential issuers can now create programs which are far more relevant and tailor-made for industries and lines of business.

See how Open Badges work – earn an IBM badge today!

The world of digital online credentials is changing, and IBM is leading the way in the IT industry. Find out how you can benefit from this important new program when you go to IBM’s Digital Badge site. You can earn badges for free – today – by completing courses at or for publishing IBM-related work with the developerWorks Author Achievement Recognition Program. Or attend a class or workshop with one of our global training providers. Go to for a list!

Special thank you to our colleague Caryn Buddie, senior managing consultant in IBM’s Enterprise Career & Skills group, for developing the winning entry — and to the Credly/Acclaim team for their valued partnership.

David Leaser
 is the senior program executive, Innovation and Growth Initiatives in IBM’s Global Skills Initiative. Leaser developed IBM’s first cloud-based learning solution and is the author of thought leadership white papers on talent development, including “The Value of Training,” “Migrating Minds” and “The Social Imperative in Workforce Development.” Leaser has trained more than 4,000 clients and developed more than 30 technology courses. You can reach David on LinkedIn or Twitter @david_leaser.

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