The Recipient Experience, Part 3 – Verifiability And Ease Of Access
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How To Leverage Digital Certificates And Badges: The Recipient Experience –Verifiability And Ease Of Access

In the article How To Leverage Digital Certificates And Badges: The Recipient Experience we had a look at the importance of the Recipient Experience, the culmination of your online training or eLearning program where your learner gets to enjoy the moment when their hard work pays off and they receive their certificate or badge.

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Digital badges and certificates are an effective way to boost learner engagement.

In the first and second part of this article series we talked about two of the tenets of the Recipient Experience; Shareability and Timely Delivery. Here we will explore the other two: Verifiability and Ease of Access.

Let’s start with how to ensure smooth credential verification.

Verifiability: 3 Key Best Practices To Ensure Credential Verification Goes Smoothly

The person who completed your course spent a lot of time and energy to become certified or credible, and they did that for a reason. They want to be able to show other people—typically their peers, existing employer, or future employers—that they have legitimately learned something new. The only way your certificate is valid to them is if a third party can quickly and easily verify the credential is real. If it isn’t secure, then they can’t trust the credential, and that means they can’t trust your organization nor your members.

Fancy designs, watermarks, and foil or wax seals used to be enough to keep forged certificates a rare occurrence. With the rise of tools like Photoshop, the barrier to faking credentials is extremely low. And if you think people don’t often lie about credentials, you’re very wrong.

Digital issuing of credentials offers some relief to these problems. Now most providers of digital certificates or badges boast bank-level encryption, so in order to produce a fake, the perpetrator would need to hack into highly secure servers to manipulate data or issue fraudulent credentials.

There are 3 key best practices to ensure credential verification goes smoothly:

1. Make Sure All The Information And Data Is Correct And Up To Date

This seems minor, but misspelled recipient or organization names immediately make people suspicious (rightly so) about certificates. That’s one of the main benefits of issuing digital certificates – the ability to immediately edit information if needed. Additionally, make sure that you clearly define dates for certificate expiration (if they do expire) and if needed, revoke certificates if someone is no longer certified.

2. Make Sure The Organization Hosting The Credential Is Secure

Many digital credential platforms have great security, just make sure that your certificates are securely hosted and will be available for years to come. For example, credentials we host at Accredible are securely hosted with bank-level encryption for at least 10 years (and the blockchain makes them un-hackable). At a quick glance of the certificate, a third party should know a digital certificate is up to date and valid.

3. Leverage New Security Technology Whenever Possible

There are new advancements in security and encryption technology happening all the time. Accredible recently enabled blockchain credentialing which you can read about here. In short, it’s an un-hackable method of issuing credentials that a third party can verify with confidence in one click. Stay on top of these advancements to ensure your organization is safe from the myriad of hacking attempts.

Ease Of Access: 2 Ways To Make Sure Your Learners Can Easily Access Their Certificates Or Badges Online

If you don’t have an online delivery mechanism, then this problem is more straightforward, though there isn’t much you can do to help with it. How likely is it that your students will end up remembering where they placed their certificate if they needed to reference it? Chances are if it wasn’t thrown away, it’s sitting under a pile of papers or in a binder of other documents. Printed certificates may be a nice touch when they are received, but they are difficult to retrieve, the information is not easily shareable, and if I asked you to produce proof of your certification, you would have to travel home and find it. Digitally issuing credentials allows the recipient to share and verify this information much easier that traditional delivery methods.

If you are issuing some kind of digital certificate or badge, it’s imperative your members or students can quickly and easily access them online. Here are some best practices to follow:

1. Remove Sign In Walls Or Accounts For Users

People don’t like having to create a new account every time they use a service. By forcing your users to create an account and sign in, you’re only adding barriers to them getting to and sharing their digital certificate. A login might be more secure for repeated visits, but there are other methods to increase security, and the burden of creating an account is often not viewed as worthwhile from the recipient’s perspective. Forcing them to sign in or create an account to simply verify someone is an unnecessary barrier. Additionally, avoid long and complicated URLs for your certificates and badges.

2. Make It Easier For Third Party Verifiers

It is of significant importance that third party viewers (friends, professional colleagues, clients) and verifiers (recruiters, employers) can see the digital version of your student’s certificate or badge. Having these third parties request permission or create an account to see details of your course offering is simply too much friction for a viewer to overcome to look at a certificate.

Conclusion

You spent a lot of time, energy, and money meticulously planning your program. Don’t let up at the finish line. You should put the same amount of thought into your Recipient Experience. By simply fine-tuning your process and focusing on shareability, timely delivery, verifiability, and ease of access, your program will reap the benefits. When implemented properly, a smooth Recipient Experience will differentiate you from your competition, yield higher post-program engagement, increase visibility, generate more referrals, reduce costs, and save your organization time. For your recipients, it’ll be a smoother, more delightful experience and maximize the value they get your of your program.

To recap:

  1. Shareable certificates and badges provide better brand exposure, increased engagement, and maximize student referrals.
  2. Timely delivery means that people are more likely to share their experience with others when they’re most excited.
  3. Verifiable credentials are the only credentials worth anything. When a third party can verify your students really earned their certificate, you provide real, tangible value white protecting the reputation of your brand.
  4. Easy accessibility is crucial to making it simple for individuals and third party verifiers to get to their digital credentials, so remove any unnecessary sigh in screens.

To know more about digital certificates or badges, download the free eBook How To Leverage Digital Certificates And Badges To Differentiate Your Program And Generate More Referrals.

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