Contribution from Ildiko Mazar, Deputy Secretary General, EDEN (European Distance and E-learning Network)
Many MOOCs offer a certificate to prove that you have completed the course. There may be a small fee to pay, especially if the certificate is issued by a university rather than by the MOOC platform itself. Another form of recognition which is becoming more widespread is that of open badges, which can be related specifically to the skills and competences you wish to develop.
An open badge is not simply an online representation of a skill you possess, but also a means that allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements. Behind the pretty surface of every well-designed badge there is a vast amount of valuable data to show who, when and why issued you your open badge, and – most importantly – what proof there is to evidence that you truly have that skill.
Beware that with the openness comes the freedom and autonomy that make you responsible for how you communicate your skills to your prospective employer. Remember that the value of an open badge comes through a mixture of the reputation of the issuer and the rigour of the criteria for obtaining the badge. In your private backpack you can store all the badges you have ever been issued, but make sure that when you assemble collections to display publicly, they are well organised compilations of your data-richest, most informative and purpose-oriented open badges.
Many people still have reservations about the validity of open badges – this is understandable with a phenomenon so new. If you have questions about how open badges work, we recommend you to read this fun blog post of Doug Belshaw from Mozilla.