Alternative Credentials     projects

Interprofessional Education (IPE) Digital Badging Project

In collaboration with a working group of Interprofessional Education leaders from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities across Maryland, the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Center for Interprofessional Education are leading the first phase (18 months) of a statewide project aimed at increasing the availability, quality, and visibility of Interprofessional Education (IPE) in health care academic programs through digital badging.

A Need to Make IPE Competency Development More Robust and Visible
In today’s collaborative, patient-centered health care environment, studies have demonstrated that team-based care improves patient-related clinical outcomes, especially for patients with chronic medical conditions and historically inequitable access to health care. As such, healthcare practitioners need to have the knowledge and skills to function capably in interprofessional teams. An international movement to offer interprofessional education (IPE) to health professions students has taken hold in response to this workforce need for collaborative practice. IPE is defined as “occasions when two or more professions learn from, with, and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” Student participation in IPE activities for health professions disciplines is paramount to preparing them for team-based care.

While many two-year and four-year institutions of higher education in Maryland offer an array of IPE experiences for their students, these experiences are often elective and can be sporadic. Relatively few health professions students will participate in IPE activities with the duration and intensity necessary to build competency. Moreover, even with robust IPE programs, there is a need to help students “connect the dots” across their IPE experiences and help make their competency development more visible, to themselves and to prospective employers.


For more information, please email 

Digital Badging as a Means to Strengthen IPE Competency Development

To address this challenge and help ensure that all health professions students graduate with core competencies needed for the provision of team-based care, an IPE working group from across two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Maryland have embarked upon the creation of an IPE Digital Badging system. An IPE Digital Badging system will provide a means by which faculty and staff can align existing and newly developed IPE activities with nationally recognized IPE competencies and ensure sustained opportunities for students to practice and improve. Just as importantly, an IPE Digital Badging system will provide the means by which students can more clearly communicate their achievement of IPE competencies to employers.

The Maryland IPE Digital Badging system will capitalize on the ability of digital badges to signal evidence of students’ competency as well as the institution’s validation of students’ proficiency in a given competency area. This allows employers and others more insight into exactly what the badge earner accomplished to achieve that badge. Additionally, because they are openly accessible, these badges can be shared through digital portfolios and social and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Badges are also “stackable,” which means that students can display earned badges as they go and follow a trajectory to higher levels of competency. This organizing principle for conveying levels of competency to others aligns well with existing tiered frameworks for IPE skill development.

The Maryland IPE Digital Badging System

The Maryland IPE Digital Badging system draws on the IPEC Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and focuses on developing students’ skills in four domains:

  • Interprofessional Communication Practices
  • Roles and Responsibilities for Collaborative Practice
  • Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice 
  • Interprofessional Teamwork and Team-based Practice 

The four domains would each span three tiers of IPE experiences that help students develop increasing levels of competency. An IPE digital badge could be earned for each tier for a total of three badges per domain:

  • Exposure IPE (introductory IPE experiences)
  • Immersion IPE (simulation experiences to practice skills learned in the Exposure IPE tier)
  • Competence IPE (experiential/clinical practice IPE experiences with direct patient care) 

In phase one, the intent behind the IPE Digital Badging System is for participating institutions to:

  1. Test a draft digital badging framework that is being developed based on IPEC competencies. Initial development is being undertaken by Dr. Heather Congdon, co-director of the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education, with input from the IPE working group. 
  2. Curate and make visible the existing curricular, co-curricular, and experiential/clinical experiences that constitute the “landscape” of badge-earning opportunities at their institutions. Additionally, new IPE experiences would be developed where necessary to meet IPE Digital Badging system parameters.
  3. Design the parameters for achievement of each of the three “tiers” in the badge-earning process. 
  4. Develop assessments that, in addition to requiring students to present artifacts from the activities in which they have engaged, asks them to reflect on their growth, articulate the skills they have developed and areas for improvement, and support their claims with evidence.

2023-2024 Participating Institutions

  • Coppin State University
  • Salisbury University
  • Towson University
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore 
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Next In Alternative Credentials