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What are Digital Credentials: A Guide for CE Providers, Coaches, Mentors, and People Who Teach Online

What are Digital Credentials

Digital credentials signify a shift from conventional paper-based certifications to online credentials. They are utilized by educational institutions, trainers, educators, experts, and mentors to confer and validate achievements, memberships, and more. Opting for digital credentials over paper-based ones streamlines the process for many educators, enhancing security, management, and storage efficiency.

Types of Digital Credentials

Depending on the purpose, there are four types of digital credentials. These are digital badges, digital certificates, micro-credentials, and stacked credentials. Below, we will elaborate on their uses and differences. 

Digital Badge 

A digital badge employs shapes, symbols, and colors to denote various levels of accomplishment. They serve as representations of micro-credentials or digital certificates, deviating from the appearance of a traditional digital paper certificate. Their smaller file size makes them effortlessly embeddable across diverse platforms.

Digital Certificate

A digital certificate serves the same purposes as its traditional paper counterpart. It acknowledges academic accomplishments, newly acquired skills, and completed training programs. These certificates validate an individual’s membership or volunteer work. Despite being digital, they often offer printable versions to cater to hard-copy requirements.


Micro-credentials, or nano-degrees, focus on webinars, individual modules, and short courses. Frequently displayed as digital badges, they can also adopt the format of digital certificates if preferred by the user. These shorter lessons or training modules facilitate quicker completion, allowing learners to acquire skills at their own pace. Accumulating micro-credentials over time signifies a diverse range of certifications demonstrating their competencies.

Stacked Credentials

Stacked credentials mirror a personal achievement portfolio, often composed of grouped digital credentials acting as a progress monitor or a compilation of crucial skills pertinent to a profession. These groupings might materialize as clusters of micro-credentials. Stacked credentials within SimpleCert® allow users on a monthly plan to furnish customized recipient portals. These portals serve as repositories for earned certificates, granting recipients easy access to all of their credentials in a single, secure location.

Uses of Digital Credentials

Digital credentials, distributed conveniently via email either as attachments or links, offer enhanced ease in dissemination and can be effortlessly resent if necessary. Their versatility finds application across various learning industries.

  • In Higher Education: Universities utilize digital credentials as diplomas and degrees, streamlining the certification process.
  • For LMS, Personal Coaching, and CE Providers: These credentials are bestowed upon clients to recognize their skill acquisitions, fostering acknowledgment within online training environments.
  • For Mentors and Online Course Trainers: They serve as evidence of membership, webinar attendance, and completion of training or strategy sessions.

Benefits of Digital Credentials for Issuers

Online Continuing Education (CE) providers, mentors, coaches, or online course instructors use technology to reach larger audiences. 

By using digital platforms, these professionals can educate hundreds simultaneously through virtual meetings and enable thousands to undertake courses without requiring their immediate presence. With the expansive reach of online education comes the necessity for efficient management of its programs. Digital credentials offer these educators and trainers a range of advantages:

Save Time and Money 

Managing certificates can become overwhelming as the number of students under an educator’s teaching grows. Digital credentials offer mass generation and distribution processes automatically. This automation, exemplified in SimpleCert®, eliminates the need for educators to rely on separate tools for certificate design, personalized data entry, or manual mail merges.

Secure Digital Storage 

Digital credentials find a secure abode within reliable servers, immune to physical loss or destruction. Within SimpleCert®, CE providers confidently utilize their accounts to maintain an unerring and safe record of certificates, especially when industries mandate compliance with common standards.

Automation and Integrations 

Digital credentials streamline the educational experience for both educators and students. Through emailed distribution, students forego the wait for physical certificates. For instance, SimpleCert®’s API seamlessly links its certificate generator to an educator’s platform, enabling students to receive their certificates via email upon test completion.

Quick Edits, Updates, and Amendments 

Digital credentials offer editing flexibility without recreating entire certificates in case of errors. Personal info can be easily updated or amended. Digital credentials can also be replicated and designed uniformly when creating credentials for other courses or lessons.

An Extension of Professional Brand

Digital credentials allow educators to align their branding within the design. For instance, an educator specializing in breast cancer treatment might employ shades of pink in their digital badges and certificates, reflecting their expertise. At SimpleCert®, our drag-and-drop certificate maker empowers educators to create customized credentials within minutes, ensuring effortless alignment with their professional brand.

Benefits of Digital Credentials for Recipients

Professionals and students engaged in learning will find significant advantages in digital credentials. These credentials reduce the necessity for cumbersome paperwork and offer digital copies as insurance against loss or damage. Additionally, recipients enjoy more benefits:

Portable and Accessible 

Digital credentials are conveniently stored in a recipient-accessible drive, ensuring easy retrieval for reference or printing purposes. SimpleCert®’s recipient portals, accessible through educators’ accounts, allow recipients to download digital copies of their credentials at their convenience.

Allows Recipients to Promote Themselves 

Recipients can effortlessly integrate digital credentials into their online professional profiles without scanning. SimpleCer®t’s “Add to LinkedIn Profile” function automatically places an issued certificate into the recipient’s LinkedIn Licenses & Certifications area of their profile, allowing for immediate posting and recognition.  Recipients can also choose to post their certification directly within their feed for other Social Media platforms including faceBook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Employers Can Quickly Verify the Credentials 

Digital credentials, often equipped with QR codes, expedite the authentication process for employers seeking to verify their legitimacy. Furthermore, digital certificates may contain the educator’s website or contact details, facilitating swift verification of credentials.

How to Choose a Digital Credential Platform

Educators use various tools to ensure a streamlined learning experience for their students. However, some tools promote themselves on the educators’ platforms, disrupting their students’ professional experience with them. Here at SimpleCert®, we automate your certification system without needing to promote ourselves. We are here to streamline your certification system to benefit you and your students. See our page for digital credentials to know if this is for you.

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