How might we capture learning beyond the traditional transcript in ways that are meaningful to employers?

Over the past three years, the Education Design Lab has engaged a wide range of school administrators and faculty, students, employers, entrepreneurs, technologists and subject matter experts in designing and piloting 21st century skills badges that could be meaningful within the complex and rapidly changing hiring ecosystem.
To date, the work has yielded a transparent, replicable framework of competencies, learning outcomes as well as a set of student-tested practices that are focused on learner growth and transformation.

As the Lab continues piloting 21st century skills badges with schools this upcoming academic year, we will also increase our work with employers—testing the efficacy of the digital badges and understanding how they can be a valuable signal at all stages of the hiring process.

Phase I: Identifying the Challenge

The initial phase of the Badging Challenge tackled the design question: How might we assess, measure, and guide a student’s 21st century skills development within or beyond a university degree?

Phase II: Understanding Needs and Perspectives

The Lab ran design sprints to understand how micro-credentials should be designed and pressure tested early prototypes of digital badges with students and employers.

Phase III: Prototyping and Piloting Multiple Badges

The Lab and 11 partner universities designed core language of badge frameworks and conducted several unique student pilots that combined knowledge, assessment, and experience/reflection modules and were focused on learner growth and transformation.

Phase IV: Completing the Suite of 21st Century Skills Badges

This year, the Lab’s cohort of national and international colleges and universities completed our suite of 21st century skills digital badges, which are now live on Credly.

Upcoming: Integrating 21st Century Skills

The Lab will be working with a new group of universities interested in integrating multiple 21st century skills frameworks into various campus academic and co-curricular programs.

Upcoming: Establishing How the Badges Can Work within Current Hiring Practices

This upcoming academic year, we will expand our reach to employers—testing the efficacy of the digital badges and understanding how the digital badges can be a valuable signal of an applicant’s potential at all stages of the hiring process.

Upcoming: Testing One Expression of a ||Universal Skills|| Translation System

How might we bridge the skills language gap between institutions, students, and hiring managers? The machine-readable T-profile is one expression of a “universal skills” translation system, using the T-shaped learner as the model.
Student Reactions
The Resilience Badge is unique…I have left with a greater understanding of myself and my abilities. I am mindful to the fact that I need to discuss this experience to other peers and employers. I feel that I can use the badge as a talking-point on my next interview. I can expand on the details, and even share my narrative of how I embody resilience. Junior

George Mason University

Tunis Business School students share their reactions to the Oral Communication Badge pilot.

21st Century Skills Badges

What’s behind the badges?
With the goal of sending a united signal to employers, the Lab and partners have built 21st century skills badges that share important criteria, components, and learning outcomes.

What We've Learned

Now that 300+ learners have been through our pilots, and 50+ employers have weighed in, we are more convinced than ever that the intentional development and assessment of 21st century skills can be a game changer…

21st Century Skills Webinar

Want to learn about our latest work advancing 21st Century Skills? Watch our webinar!


George Mason University offers students opportunity to participate in Resilience badge workshop.

#TeeUpTheSkills Kicks off at the University of Maine: What did we learn?

The first stop on our #TeeUpTheSkills tour was a place with an urgent need for employer-driven 21st Century Skills credentials: Bangor, Maine. When we engaged with employers, it became immediately clear that they were struggling to identify candidates with professional skills needed to be successful in entry level jobs.

Employer Testing Kicks Off as Student Pilots Wrap Up

Twitter LinkedIn The 21st Century Skills Badging Challenge student pilots are wrapping up as the academic year comes to a close—but the Lab’s work...

21st Century Skills Badging Challenge Cohort Convening Highlights Opportunities within the University and Beyond

Twitter LinkedIn This March, the Education Design Lab’s school partners on the 21st Century Skills Badging Challenge gathered for the 2016-17 Cohort...

Badges about to “Change the Game” on Hiring at IBM

The Lab’s Kathleen deLaski was on a panel with David Leaser, IBM’s Senior Program Executive for Innovation and Growth Initiatives, and was fascinated by some of the ways IBM is starting to use badges. Most timely is yesterday’s announcement about IBM badges counting as credits toward graduate degrees at Northeastern University. David agreed to sit down with the Lab and describe why he advocates for badges as a key hiring and development tool as it becomes clearer to IBM that traditional methods can’t keep up. Much of the conversation was driven by this observation by David: “The pace of technology development has outpaced the pace of learning.”

21st Century Skills Badging Challenge Cohort Convening Highlights Opportunities within the University and Beyond

Twitter LinkedIn This March, the Education Design Lab’s school partners on the 21st Century Skills Badging Challenge gathered for the 2016-17 Cohort...

University Consortium Tackles Credentialing for 21st Century Skills

Twitter LinkedIn Now in Year Three of our badging challenge (recently featured on PBS NewsHour and The Chronicle of Higher Education), we’re...

Bay Path Design Sprint

Twitter LinkedIn The Lab led a design sprint at Bay Path University, an institution dedicated to emerging women leaders and managers. This two-day...
Interested in Getting Involved?
Read about our other challenges
Michelle Batt


Design Challenge Lead

Michelle is a Design Challenge Lead for the Lab’s Badging Challenge. Michelle is also the President of Lead by Experience, offering strategic and tactical consulting to help leadership teams across: business, health care and education improve their customer experience.

Through her coaching, Michelle loves to “gently” break up typical functional silos to stimulate collaboration and steer change management across organizations. She integrates new, cost effective, ways to capture and understand customers’ expectations, wants and needs.

Prior to establishing her own business, Michelle held executive positions in telecommunications at MCI and NII Holdings where she held the position of Senior Director of Customer Experience. Michelle earned a Masters of Arts degree in Education: Curriculum & Instruction from Loyola College in Maryland and completed an Executive Certification in Global Leadership from Georgetown University – the McDonough School of Business.


Michael Meotti photo-2

Michael Meotti

Higher Ed Fellow

Mike brings extensive experience in higher education policy, innovation and management to Education Design Lab’s work.   Mike has a broad perspective on the challenges facing colleges and universities based on his past leadership positions in state government, nonprofit organizations and higher education systems. He has led transformation initiatives in all of these sectors.

Mike served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and Executive Vice President and chief operating officer of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. 

Mike was a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Federal Relations Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).  He led the Connecticut delegation in the National Governors Association Best Practices Academy “Complete to Compete” and in Complete College America.  Michael was also active in the state policy track of Achieving the Dream and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition for the Common Core Standards.  He earned his J.D. and B.S. degrees from Georgetown University.

Prior to his work in higher education, Mike led several nonprofit organizations that provided services addressing the needs of many “first generation” and returning adult students.