Can digital badges drive engagement?

Published: 22nd July 2019

I was first introduced to “badging” a number of years ago when organisations started to develop their gamification strategies. In those early days badges tended to be awarded to employees as part of a fun competitive environment designed to evoke our competitiveness and pitch ourselves against our colleagues or rival teams within the organisation. Back then I certainly didn’t give a lot of thought as to whether badging could be a solution that could meet specific business needs.

As time evolved, I started to work with organisations that had regulatory or process compliance requirements, and so the awarding of badges became more synonymous with certification and the completion of mandatory training rather than the badges earned in an organisations LMS league tables. 

Many organisations struggle to maintain the effectiveness of their certification programmes or their gamification strategies because they don’t succeed in effecting cultural change. Employees see such learning as something extra they have to do on top of their jobs, a chore almost, rather than create the change in culture to a state where workforces welcome a mindset of “this is how we operate now”. So, I was fascinated to hear that some organisations would again start to appeal to our competitive streaks and use digital badges to drive engagement.

How IBM addressed engagement

One such organisation was IBM, and I noticed recently that David Lesser – the senior executive of strategic growth initiatives for IBM’s Training & Skills program published some of the amazing results the IBM  Digital Badge Program achieved in a very short space of time and then manged to maintain over a prolonged period thereby achieving a change in culture that has seen significant performance improvements across their business and their Channel Partner Networks. I wanted to share some highlights of their findings as food for thought, and if this article piques your interest you can find a more in-depth report on IBM’s findings here
The IBM Digital Badge Program launched as a pilot for online learning in the spring of 2015. Within weeks IBM started to see some pretty astonishing results. Student enrollments increased by 129% and the percentage of enrollees who actually completed courses increased by 226%. Student numbers passing the end of course (EoC) exam increased by a staggering 694% compared to the six-week period leading up to the introduction of digital badges. IBM stress that there were no other contributing factors to this success, like promotions or announcements from IBM executives which makes the level of improvement all the more impressive.
Online course triple digit grow metric

Increased engagement

IBM’s HR department found a correlation between badges and engagement. Employees who earn digital badges show higher engagement scores than employees who do not. Among badge recipients, 87% said they are more engaged because of the digital badge program.

So, pretty remarkable stuff, I think we’d all agree. Most organisations L&D teams would be delighted with those numbers, but if you’ve worked in Learning and Performance Improvement long enough, you know that all of that front-end activity is only part of the story. Unless you spend the time, money and effort analysing how this great engagement equates to tangible improvements in individual, collective and business performance then how do you know it’s worked? 

Luckily IBM did just that, and below is a brief snapshot of some of their findings:

Increased sales

IBM found a correlation between sales and digital badges. Technical sales professionals who have earned digital badges are more likely to achieve sales quotas than employees who have not earned badges.

Increased leads generation

Digital badges can also create leads for products. When IBM introduced Digital Badges to an online training site with links to product downloads, those downloads increased by 64%, showing training (with incentives to complete the activities) can actually create leads for products.

Increased skills for the company

A survey of IBM business units found 76% said digital badges motivates employees and customers to develop current skills. One third said digital badges accelerate shifts in expertise to meet the changing market.

How badges impact your business image

At Wahoo Learning we have been providing Digital Badging for our clients for many years now. We understand its value to our customers business, their channel partners and their employees. So to see an organisation the size of IBM beating the same drum, and showing the same outcomes that some of our customers have achieved is heart-warming and extremely satisfying.

You might also enjoy

Wahoo learning vs in-house – which is best?

Wahoo Learning vs In-House – Which is Best?

In the early stages of training programme development, planning how you intend to support, maintain and manage it is the key to its success.

For this, there are generally two options: outsourcing to a specialist or keeping it under one roof in-house.
However, deciding how to move forward isn’t clear cut. Many factors can impact the decision.

We are not about to tell you to outsource to us. It’s about us helping you explore your options and make the right choice for your requirements.

Everything you need to know about our lms

Everything you need to know about our LMS

Whenever we make a decision to purchase a new product or service, we all have questions. Choosing the right LMS for your organisation can be a difficult decision, especially as there are so many options on the market.

We’ve written this blog to save some of the guesswork and answer any questions you may have ahead of your decision.

The WahooLMS has been specifically created for training external audiences so it’s important to us to explain the how, why and what.

6 signs you’re ready to implement a channel partner training programme with wahoo learning

6 Signs You’re Ready to Implement a Channel Partner Training Programme with Wahoo Learning

Do you think you might be ready to work with Wahoo Learning? Perhaps you’ve identified your challenges and how training solves them. Maybe an online training programme is what you have needed for a while now, but you don’t have the budget or resources available to make it a success.

As a business, we work with you to gain a full understanding of your business and situation to ensure that both parties are ready to sign on the dotted line. There’s nothing worse than wasted time on both parts.

5 problems that can occur after you launch a training programme for external audiences

5 Problems That Can Occur After You Launch a Training Programme for External Audiences

Developing and launching a training programme to help solve the challenges associated with managing a channel partner network is a major feat and a positive step towards business growth.

However, many businesses attempt to launch without futureproofing their programme.

So, before you start developing your programme or try to find a way to deliver your training, we want to discuss the common challenges that can occur before and after launch and use our experience to help you avoid these pitfalls.

The author - andy chatwin

The author - Andy Chatwin

With 20 years experience of coaching teams and individuals I am a real advocate of performance improvement, digital transformation, and sustainable business initiatives.

Our recent posts

What you need to know before you start working with wahoo learning

What You Need to Know Before You Start Working with Wahoo Learning

Before you invest in a training programme and start working with Wahoo Learning, there are some important elements to have in place first.

Even though we take care of the training programme delivery and project management, there is some preliminary work you can do to help us hit the ground running and get to the deployment stage as smoothly and quickly as possible. Of course, this is also dependent on the individual requirements of your programme.

Here is a detailed overview of what you need in place before we start work together.

read more
How to get the most from your partnership with wahoo learning

How to Get the Most from your Partnership with Wahoo Learning

When we enter a new partnership and start working with a new customer, we think it’s important to be as transparent as possible. We want to work closely with you and get under the skin of your organisation from the offset.

From your point of view, this process is designed to set your expectations and ensure you get the most from our partnership. It’s a chance for you to get to know Wahoo Learning and understand the processes we put in place to make a success of your training programme.

read more
Wahoo learning vs in-house – which is best?

Wahoo Learning vs In-House – Which is Best?

In the early stages of training programme development, planning how you intend to support, maintain and manage it is the key to its success.

For this, there are generally two options: outsourcing to a specialist or keeping it under one roof in-house.
However, deciding how to move forward isn’t clear cut. Many factors can impact the decision.

We are not about to tell you to outsource to us. It’s about us helping you explore your options and make the right choice for your requirements.

read more
Everything you need to know about our lms

Everything you need to know about our LMS

Whenever we make a decision to purchase a new product or service, we all have questions. Choosing the right LMS for your organisation can be a difficult decision, especially as there are so many options on the market.

We’ve written this blog to save some of the guesswork and answer any questions you may have ahead of your decision.

The WahooLMS has been specifically created for training external audiences so it’s important to us to explain the how, why and what.

read more
6 signs you’re ready to implement a channel partner training programme with wahoo learning

6 Signs You’re Ready to Implement a Channel Partner Training Programme with Wahoo Learning

Do you think you might be ready to work with Wahoo Learning? Perhaps you’ve identified your challenges and how training solves them. Maybe an online training programme is what you have needed for a while now, but you don’t have the budget or resources available to make it a success.

As a business, we work with you to gain a full understanding of your business and situation to ensure that both parties are ready to sign on the dotted line. There’s nothing worse than wasted time on both parts.

read more
Everything you need to know about our elearning production service

Everything You Need to Know About Our eLearning Production Service

Are you developing a new training programme? Or perhaps refreshing eLearning course content or looking for new course content? There are such vast differences between some of what is available on the market today, so we wanted to explain, in full, what our eLearning production service is all about.

This blog should provide you with a clear idea of what we offer as part of our design services, and whether it meets the needs of your organisation.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!