What are Badges/Microcredit?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for informal learning in the form of micro-credits. A key aspect of gamification is to build in easy to reach incentives, and badges are an simple way to bring that idea to learning. The concept behind badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. Badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Badging remains an intriguing potential element supporting lifelong learning and lifelong learners, falling somewhere in between formal academic degrees and formal certification programs. If it reliably reflects a learner's achievements, it might be useful to employers and prospective employers looking for evidence of a learner's commitment to maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge in the numerous fields of work where change is constant and the need to keep up with change is essential to success.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 10, 2013
  • I recently wrote an article for Evolllution on this exact topic. There are five key areas where badges are relevant to learning: 1) Evidence of achievement 2) motivation for deeper learning 3) personalized learning paths 4) shareable credentials for students 5) versatility of the credential. More details here: http://www.evolllution.com/opinions/ways-digital-badges-influence-learning/ - kbowen kbowen Oct 21, 2013 Enjoyed the article; glad for the link from this page- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013
  • Might be worth noting that one of the key figures in adult learning, Malcolm Knowles, was a big fan of badges in a much earlier incarnation--through his success in earning 50 Boy Scout badges in a nine-month period, writing about it in the October 29, 1929 issues of Boys' Life (his first published article, at the age of sixteen), and then revisiting that learning experience in his book The Making of an Adult Educator on pp. 25-26 (book published in 1989).- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 21, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Badges are also a way to build social credibility. Badges need not be tied specifically to skills or knowledge acquisition (both low level achievements from a learning taxonomy pov). Rather, badges are also a reflection of achievement and from a cultural pov, are also a way for a peer group to recognize people for demonstrating important attributes through their actions. - jasonr jasonr Oct 10, 2013
  • Badges can be applied in four key educational areas: 1) curricular (formal) learning 2) cross curricular learning 3) open curricular learning 4) co-curricular (informal) learning. For items 2,3, and 4 - there is currently no method available to "officially" recognize learning in these areas. - kbowen kbowen Oct 21, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • If badging is seen as an element of our learning environment rather than a competitor to formal higher education programs, it could have the positive impact of encouraging learners to move fluidly, as needed, between formal higher education programs as they currently exist and the type of learning opportunities the badging process is meant to document.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 10, 2013
  • I agree and believe that this opportunity to document one´s achievements with a badge is highly motivating for learners to not only get started in the first place but to complete the learning activity. Badges may also help prepare and alleviate anxieties concerning more comprehensive tests and exams. - helga helga Oct 12, 2013
  • I think badges are great means to motivate and engage learners within a given learning infrastructure or community; the next step would be to use badges to get recognition for the things I learned. But that's a completely different, more challenging story in terms of standards, quality and processes. - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 21, 2013
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • We use a badge system to help recognize student accomplishment and work towards demonstrate critical heroic values in our Global Social Problems, Local Action and Social Networks for Change course (mentioned in the 2013 report). http:/academic.stedwards.edu/gsp . The focus is not on the badge; rather, on the badge as an achievement milestone in the course. This semester we are using http://www.credly.com to manage student badges. - jasonr jasonr Oct 10, 2013
  • Purdue developed and implemented the Passport system for enabling badges for learning. Through the beta program, there are a wide range of faculty at multiple institutions that have been experimenting with the technology. http://www.itap.purdue.edu/studio/passport/ - kbowen kbowen Oct 21, 2013

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