People Development Institute: Selecting a digital badging platform
In mid-October of 2020, Rico Ruiz, Director of Organizational Development at Tampa General Hospital (TGH), had to decide on a Digital Badging Platform (DBP) to support a professional development program hosted by University of South Florida (USF) for delivery to TGH's health care workers in the proposed People Development Institute (PDI). Ruiz was approached by TGH's CEO, John Couris, about a challenge with organizing and tracking the engagement of professional development of employees across its various departments. TGH was a highly respected hospital with nationally ranked clinical programs. Couris insisted that the development of the professional skills of 8,100 members in their interactions with other employees and patients needed to be better organized and tracked. Couris was prepared to invest $10M over a 10-year period into a healthcare professional development center, PDI, in partnership with the USF Muma College of Business. Dr. Matthew Mullarkey, a professor and co-director of USF's Doctor of Business Administration program, where Couris was in his second year of study, thought a system of micro-credentials based on academic digital badges could provide an innovative way to credential TGH's employees as they completed developmental programs through USF. The digital badges allowed for better tracking of TGH employee development and they could be stacked into more meaningful credentials such as college credits and certificates. Additionally, employees could share their earned digital badges on social media which would be free marketing for TGH. Although he had 19+ years of experience in education and organizational development, Ruiz knew nothing about digital badges or DBPs when first approached by Couris. After meeting with a DBP consultant who specialized in the digital badging space, Ruiz was able to narrow his choice to 3 DBPs: Accredible, Badgr, and Credly. Couris needed a proposal by Mid-November, giving Ruiz ten days to select a DBP and author a report justifying his recommendation to seize an opportunity for a partnership with USF.