Last week, we sent out a survey about “verified certificates” by email and blog post. The results we got are shared below. We still have plenty of thinking and discussing to do, but this feedback is really helpful for us and, we hope, interesting to you.
Here is how we introduced the survey:
Scroll down for the visual results (click on any image to open a full-size version), but here are a few thoughts:
- Most respondents have never paid for a verified certificate, but a sizable majority have also not earned a free Saylor Academy certificate, either.
- About 47% would be likely (4) or very likely (5) to pursue verified certificates.
- About 67% find standard Saylor Academy certificates to be valuable (4) or very valuable (5) — to be expected, perhaps, out of respondents who are probably pursuing Saylor Academy certificates.
- In terms of comparing the value of certificates, the numbers closely mirror question 3, which asks how likely the respondent would be to pursue a verified certificate. 45% believe a verified certificate to be more valuable than a standard one (cf. 47% who would be likely or very likely to pursue a verified certificate); 31% believe the two kinds of certificates have about the same value (cf. to 27.5% who would be neither likely nor unlikely to pursue a verified certificate); 24% are either not sure how they compare or believe a standard certificate to be of more value (cf. to 25% who would be unlikely (2) or very unlikely (1) to pursue a verified certificate).
- The ways that people would use a verified certificate skew toward professional and workplace applications and toward digital, with educational applications and paper options coming in 12 percentage points or more behind. The clear winner is listing on a resume or c.v.
We also invited narrative responses and received many; rather than replicate them (out of respect both for respondents and for brevity), we will characterize different flavors of response as follows:
- Certificates should be kept free entirely (do not create multiple tiers)
- Optional hard copies should be sent to students
- Fees should be affordable, perhaps even scaled to location and/or ability to pay
- Willing to pay a fee and happy to do so
- Employers not (yet) likely to distinguish between verified and nonverified certificates; they want a demonstration of skill
- Verified certificates (and perhaps the element of cost) encourage students to stick with the course until the end
- Clear recognition/acceptance by third parties is important to creating value
The gist seems to be that verified certificates should not be allowed to degrade the value of free certificates; should themselves provide specific value (e.g. partners who accept them, paper copies, etc.); should communicate that value very clearly; should be affordable to all.
What are your thoughts? We would love to hear them!