What are Open Badges?

Open badges are seen as a potential new approach to granting learning credentials, organized from the perspective of documenting personal skills and achievement in the same way a Boy or Girl Scout might earn a merit badge. This approach is being used in settings like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. [[#|Mozilla]] has launched its own badge system, enabling users to easily display their achievements on the web. Open 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 open 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?

  • Badges can help to recognize, encourage, and legitimize experience gained through participation in co-curricular activities. For example, a "student leadership" badge for people who have been elected to student government. These kinds of credentials are often overlooked by students who are applying for a first position and they do not appear on a traditional transcript. - allan.gyorke allan.gyorke Nov 30, 2012
  • We have an educational game called EconU that is using "Achievements" in an economics [[#|video game]] as an indicator that students were able to achieve a certain set of conditions within the game. Several of the students have commented that they played through the game more times than were necessary so they could earn all of the achievements.
  • Badges could fill the gap between formal certificates and informal attendance lists. But it's not sure if indipendant learners and knowledge workers might be attracted by this kind of recognition. - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 30, 2012
  • To provide potential learners and students with evidence of experiential learning and possible transferable credit - it will help bond students to educational programmes, used in gamification and easily provided. A solution for example for recording attendance or activity. we run an open Sports Law award which uses badges and we are seeking credit for the badges to be used as [[#|Accreditation]] of Prior and Experiential Leanring (APEL) - DaveP DaveP Dec 2, 2012
  • Badges have the potential to encourage students, just like gamification, to foster engagement with content and mastery. Employing an open badging system in classrooms could open up the conversation to everyone being a learner, and the teacher becomes a facilitator of learning. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Dec 2, 2012
  • I believe the real promise of badges really is as an open credentialing system carried and owned by the student (as opposed to the institution) in a trusted sort of way. So that in the future when Josefa Student applies for a job she has in one nifty trusted system her two college degrees, her network or microsoft credentials and a whole bunch of smaller things. The employer can go in and verify. Scary on some levels, but very cool - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Dec 2, 2012

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

  • I believe that Mozilla badges and Khan academy badges are not equivalent. Mozilla is attempting to look across platforms and services. This is a good deal more influential (or should be) because portability of badges (and analytics) is important to scale and sustainability.- Mara Mara Nov 24, 2012
  • There are also badges being built in Moodle, based on the Mozilla Open Badges framework - read here - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Dec 2, 2012
  • Badges are a granular method of credentialing. You could have a badge represent a single concept in a classroom all the way up to a full degree program. It is the scalability that makes them so useful. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Dec 2, 2012
  • Ed: From RQ2: Accreditation: new ways of issuing credentials which include experience and life long learning: Only Open Badges is mentioned but it's a more encompassing subject - there are other initiatives like OERU, degreed (mentioned it under Trends) - bdieu bdieu Dec 1, 2012 yeah I agree, I tied to add that to the open badges discussion - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Dec 2, 2012 especially in light of MOOCs - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Dec 2, 2012
  • Where are the badges for character traits--honesty, integrity, empathy? How will these be part of the new "trust economy?" Currently companies, such as ordering from resellers, ebay, etc. have these 'credit values.' As we add add to our digital footprint these type of badges will separate job applicants from one another.
    - michael.lambert michael.lambert Dec 3, 2012
  • There is a discussion on how content acquired through a variety of means will be articulated and accepted for credit at institutions. This discussion is not new, but I wonder if there's a place for some kind of standardization in presenting learning or curriculum that has been completed to facilitate this articulation review. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Dec 3, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research, or creative inquiry?

  • This will facilitate life long learning because every form of learning no matter how casual can be credentialied in some way, Of course some credentials will be worth more than others. - andrew.barras andrew.barras Dec 2, 2012
  • I'm not sure if we shouldn't broaden this from open badges to micro-credentialing ... or maybe the latter should be in our trends section. - Nick Nick Dec 2, 2012

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • In our massive open online course, opco12, we made a try with open badges. Unfortunately, the project overview and the description of our approach to open badges, are in German. So, in brief, participants could choose between different roles at the beginning of the course. We called these roles "lurker", "commentator" and "curator". Each role was connected to a number of tasks to fulfill. It was completely based on self-evaluation. The effect was quite interesting: most people didn't know how to deal with badges and didn't even recognize the offer; but a number of participants took the idea very seriously trying hard to meet all requirements. - jochen.robes jochen.robes Nov 30, 2012
  • Peer to Peer U - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Dec 2, 2012
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  • EDUCAUSE is looking at badging in a professional development context and we've had some contact with members to collect their opinions and impressions of doing so. So far, the reaction has been positive. We're launching a pilot in February 2013. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Dec 3, 2012