Value of Open Microcredentials to Earners and Issuers

A Case Study of National Instruments Open Badges




open badges, microcredentials, credentials, professional development, microlearning


While microcredentials and open digital badges have become increasingly popular in education, more research is needed to better understand their implementation and benefits to both issuers and users. In this paper, we use a case study approach to report and discuss the outcomes from the implementation of an open badges program at National Instruments, highlighting the effects this program has had on both National Instruments and its users. As the program evolves to better meet the needs of its stakeholders, we find that both participants (badge earners) and the issuer (National Instruments) see potential value in the National Instruments Badging Program. The value for both seems to stem from the way in which the program enables the sharing of badges, which helps the earner establish their skills/reputation while also increasing awareness of the program for National Instruments. This study adds to our understanding of why an organization may find value in offering open microcredentials as an alternative to traditional professional development and certificates for their customers and employees.

Author Biographies

Danny Young, Brigham Young University

Danny Young is a doctoral student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University, where he conducts research into open microcredentials and their potential benefits.

Richard Edward West, Brigham Young University

Richard E. West is an associate professor in the Instructional Psychology and Technology department at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses on instructional technology foundations, theories of creativity and innovation, technology integration for preservice teachers, and open microcredentials. He researches the design, support, and evaluation of environments that foster collaborative innovation, as well as online learning communities and open education. His research is available through his profiles on Mendeley, Google Scholar, and his personal website (

Travis Ann Nylin, National Instruments

Travis Ann Nylin graduated from Mississippi State University with an M.S. in electrical engineering. She has been employed with National Instruments for 8 years, and currently serves as a Senior Product Manager, managing product roadmaps and portfolios and future product developments and feature sets.



How to Cite

Young, D., West, R. E., & Nylin, T. A. (2019). Value of Open Microcredentials to Earners and Issuers: A Case Study of National Instruments Open Badges. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20(5), 104–121.



Research Articles