Persona partners with Pearson on social-emotional skills digital badges pilot

Press Release
Bristol, UK, 2nd March 2023

Persona Education has partnered with Pearson to pilot digital badge programmes aimed to support further education GCSE learners in the UK, developing 22 social-emotional skills on the Persona Life Skills online learning platform.


Persona + Pearson + Credly partnership

Image: Persona Education


Pearson, the world's leading learning company, and Persona Education, the UK based online personal development provider for schools and colleges, have entered a pilot project partnership. Together, we’re creating a series of digital badge programmes aimed to support GCSE learners with the development of 22 social-emotional skills, or ‘life skills’.

The pilot follows extensive research that shows how developing social-emotional skills – such as goal-setting, active listening, critical thinking and empathy – can have a significant positive impact on young people’s lives.

In July 2022 The Pearson School Report, representing the views of more than 6,500 educators in England, found two-thirds of teachers want to see core life skills, such as communication skills, mental health/wellbeing, social skills and responsible decision making, incorporated into the national curriculum with as much time and emphasis as core subjects.

The partners have created a series of digital badges on the Credly platform – the world’s largest digital credentialing network – that it is hoped will support GCSE learners in developing 22 social-emotional skills, or ‘life skills’. The pilot is designed to test this, and to explore to what extent students, teachers and employers value social-emotional skills, and related digital badges.

The 22 life skills are grouped thematically and make up six skillsets, shown to have a positive impact on students’ formal education, employability and social interactions:

1. Being Realistic
2. Communication Skills
3. Open-mindedness
4. Problem Solving
5. Resilience
6. Self-control

The pilot involves several hundred year 12 and year 13 students enrolled at four further education colleges in England. Using a test environment built in the Persona Life Skills online learning platform, students involved in the pilot have access to 66 self-directed life skills learning modules, in which they can learn how to develop and apply the 22 life skills, at three levels.

Students earn digital badges by completing the modules successfully. When they complete all modules within a skillset level, they will also receive a Skillset Award badge. Using Credly’s sharing options, learners can share their badges directly to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The badges can also be emailed to someone, or shared via a link. Students can also download PDF certificates.

Pete Read, CEO & Co-founder of Persona Education, said “One of the biggest challenges in the world of education is the effective delivery and recognition of social-emotional skills for teenagers and young people. It is a hugely important issue that has a direct impact on academic attainment, careers and life satisfaction. This partnership between Persona and Pearson has the potential to address the problem at scale, not only among further education students, but all secondary students, both in the UK and internationally. In future this could even be extended into higher education and workplace learning.”

Meredith Reeve, Head of Next Generation Assessment at Pearson, said: “We’re delighted to share the news of this exciting pilot, as we work to build on the latest technological advances with our expert partners. Pearson’s extensive research, and our ongoing conversations with educators, families, students and employers, have underlined just how essential life skills are when it comes to preparing young people for their adult lives.

“In our Future of Qualifications and Assessment Report, we made a number of recommendations, including the need to recognise the right skills in the right way, and to make GCSEs work better for all learners. With up to 25% of skills gaps in the workplace linked to deficiencies in numeracy and literacy, exploring the long-term potential of recognising the development of life skills development in this way is an important step towards building a system that helps every learner thrive into the future, whichever pathway they choose.”

Following the pilot test with students, In spring 2023, Pearson and Persona will assess the effect of the digital badges on learner motivation, progress and attitudes. It is hoped that the findings will help establish how to better bolster skills in schools and colleges, and further enhance the overall GCSE experience for students.

To find out more about our partners in this pilot project, visit the Pearson website and the Credly website.



About Persona Education Ltd

Persona Education is a UK based edtech start-up developing life skills solutions for secondary students and educational institutions. Its web and mobile online learning platforms are built around a scientifically proven personality insights framework, that is social, practical and memorable. For further information contact or +44 (0)117 313 2897.

About Persona Life Skills

Persona Life Skills is an online Social-Emotional Learning platform for schools and colleges that uses personality insights to help teenagers navigate their life journey. The scaffolded, age appropriate curriculum guides students in building 22 life skills that map to Ofsted, ISI, Skills Builder, IB Learner Profile, AS Tracking, VIA Character, Gatsby and other benchmarks. For further information contact or +44 (0)117 313 2897.

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