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A Comprehensive Guide To Digital Badges
A Comprehensive Guide To Digital Badges
An introduction to digital badges and a brief history
Simply put, a digital badge is an indicator of accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online. These badges can be earned in a wide variety of environments, an increasing number of which are online.
The anatomy of digital badges
In addition to the image-based design we think of as a digital badge, badges have meta-data to communicate details of the badge to anyone wishing to verify it, or learn more about the context of the achievement it signifies.
The many functions of digital badges
Just like their real-world counterparts, digital badges serve a wide variety of purposes depending on the issuing body and the individual. For the most part, badges’ functions can be bucketed into one of five categories.
Badges are issued by individual organizations who set criteria for what constitutes earning a badge. They’re most often issued through an online credential or badging platform.
Criticism of digital badges
There are various arguments to be made against the implementation of digital badges, including the common issuance of seemingly “meaningless” badges.
The future of digital badges
With the rise of online education and the increasing availability of high quality massive open online courses, there will be an increasing need for verifiable digital badges and digital credentials.
more on badges in this IMS blog
David Demaine, S., Lemmer, C. A., Keele, B. J., & Alcasid, H. (2015). Using Digital Badges to Enhance Research Instruction in Academic Libraries. In B. L. Eden (Ed.), Enhancing Teaching and Learning in the 21st-Century Academic Library: Successful Innovations That Make a Difference (2015th ed.). Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2882671
At their best, badges can create a sort of interactive e-resume.
the librarian may be invited into the classroom, or the students may be sent to the Iibrary for a single research lesson on databases and search tem1s- not enough for truly high-quality research. A better alternative may be that the professor require the students to complete a series of badges- designed, implemented, and managed by the librarian- that build thorough research skills and ultimately produce a better paper.
Meta- badges are s impl y badges that indicate comp letion o f multiple related badges.
Authentication (determining that the badge has not been altered) and validation/verification (checking that the badge has actually been earned and issued by the stated issuer) are major concerns. lt is also important, particularly in the academic context, to make sure that the badge does not come to replace the learning it represents. A badge is a symbol that other skills and knowledge exist in this individual’s portfolio of skills and talents. Therefore, badges awarded in the educational context must reflect time and effort and be based on vetted standards, or they will become empty symbols
Digital credentialing recognizes “learning of many kinds which are acquired beyond formal education institutions .. . ; it proliferates and disperses author- ity over what learning to recognize; and it provides a means of translation and commensuration across multiple spheres” (Oineck, 2012, p. I)
University digital badge projects are rarely a top-down undertaking. Typi- cally, digital badge programs arise from collaborative efforts “of people agi- tating from the middle” (Raths, 2013).
|ELI Course | Digging Into Badges: Designing and Developing Digital Credentials
|Register by September 22
Digital badges are receiving a growing amount of attention and are beginning to disrupt the norms of what it means to earn credit or be credentialed. Badges allow the sharing of evidence of skills and knowledge acquired through a wide range of life activity, at a granular level, and at a pace that keeps up with individuals who are always learning—even outside the classroom. As a result, there’s quite a lot for colleges and universities to consider in the wide open frontier called badging.
During this ELI Course, participants will:
- Explore core concepts that define digital badges, as well as their benefits and use in learning-related contexts
- Understand the underlying technical aspects of digital badges and how they relate to each other and the broader landscape for each learner and issuing organization
- Critically review and analyze examples of the adoption of digital credentials both inside and outside higher education
- Identify and isolate specific programs, courses, or other campus or online activities that would be meaningfully supported and acknowledged with digital badges or credentials—and more
Join us for this three-part series. Registration is open.
- Part 1: September 13 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
- Part 2: September 19 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
- Part 3: September 28 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
more on badges in this IMS blog
Girl Scouts to Earn Badges in Cybersecurity
The education program is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks. Jun 23, 2017
The education program, which aims to reach as many as 1.8 million Girl Scouts in kindergarten through sixth grade, is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks, a security company, the organization said in a press release.
more on cybersecurity in this IMS blog
per Tom Hergert (thank you)
AECT-OTP Webinar: Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials for the Workplace
Time: Mar 27, 2017 1:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Learn how to implement digital badges in learning environments. Digital badges and micro-credentials offer an entirely new way of recognizing achievements, knowledge, skills, experiences, and competencies that can be earned in formal and informal learning environments. They are an opportunity to recognize such achievements through credible organizations that can be integrated in traditional educational programs but can also represent experience in informal contexts or community engagement. Three guiding questions will be discussed in this webinar: (1) digital badges’ impact on learning and assessment, (2) digital badges within instructional design and technological frameworks, and (3) the importance of stakeholders for the implementation of digital badges.
Dirk Ifenthaler is Professor and Chair of Learning, Design and Technology at University of Mannheim, Germany and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University, Australia. His previous roles include Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Digital Learning at Deakin University, Australia, Manager of Applied Research and Learning Analytics at Open Universities, Australia, and Professor for Applied Teaching and Learning Research at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He was a 2012 Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, at the University of Oklahoma, USA
Directions to connect via Zoom Meeting:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/8128701328
Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +14086380968,8128701328# or +16465588656,8128701328#
Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 812 870 1328
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=EedT5hShl1ELe6DRYI58-DeQm_hO10Cp
Notes from the webinar
Technology, Knowledge and Learning
14th International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age 2017 18 – 20 October Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
learning is a process, not a product.
Each student learns differently and assessment is not linear. Learning for different students can be a longer or shorter path.
assessment comes before badges
what are credentials:
how well i can show my credentials: can i find it, can i translate it, issuer, earner, achievement description, date issued.
the potential to become an alternative credentialing system to link directly via metadata to validating evidence of educational achievements.
DB is not an assessment, it is the ability to demonstrate the assessment.
They are a motivational mechanism, supporting alternative forms of assessment, a way to credentialize learning, charting learning pathways, support self-reflection and planning
Credly Badges Now Available Through Canvas
By Rhea Kelly 01/09/17
Students can now earn digital badges when they complete modules in Canvas, thanks to a new partnership between Credly and the learning management system from Instructure.
“Digital badges are a powerful and employer-friendly complement to grades and other information traditionally found on a college transcript,” said Brenda Perea, instructional design project manager at Colorado Community College System, which deployed an early pilot of Credly Learning Edition for Canvas.
more on badges in this IMS blog
Supporting Student Engagement and Recognizing Learning With Digital Badges
Digital badges unify the learning that happens in these diverse contexts—often at a relatively granular level—with a common and portable representation of achievement.
- include a consistent set of metadata or information about the nature of the assessment, experience, or criteria that led to the skills or competency-based outcomes represented;
- incorporate authentic evidence of the outcome being certified;
- can be shared, displayed, or pulled into different kinds of platforms and environments in both human-readable and machine-readable formats;
- can be distributed in a simple, consistent format, fostering relationship building, networking, and just-in-time career development opportunities;
- are searchable and discoverable in a range of settings; and
- offer data and insights about how and where they are used, valued, and consumed.
As a marker of achievement, a digital badge looks both backward and forward at the same time: backward to the experience or assessment that was completed to qualify for it, and forward to the benefits, rewards, or new opportunities available to those who have earned it.
Some of the possibilities you might consider include:
- Serving as an alternate qualification for lifelong learning. Degrees and licenses certify summative achievements often following formal education programs or courses of study; do your digital badges provide official certification recognizing learning that is more granular, formative, or incremental?
- Surfacing, verifying, or sharing evidence of achievement. How can we surface discrete evidence that certifies a skill or accomplishment, and by doing so arm learners with official recognition they can use toward new opportunities? Does validating and making a specific success or outcome more visible, portable, and sharable help a learner move successfully from one learning experience to the next?
- Democratizing the process of issuing credit. How can we empower anyone who can observe or assess meaningful achievements to issue digital recognition of those accomplishments, even if that means that credential issuing becomes less centralized?
- Exposing pathways and providing scaffolding. How can we better suggest or illuminate a path forward for learners while also enabling that pathway and progress to be shared with an external audience of peers or potential employers?
- Supporting ongoing engagement. How can digital badges support learners incrementally as they progress through a learning experience? Can we enhance motivation before and after the experience?
The process for developing an effective badge system can be broken into steps:
- Create a badge constellation. A constellation is a master plan or blueprint that shows all of the badges you intend to offer and how they relate to core themes or to each other.
- Map meaning to each badge and to the overall badge system. Ensure that each part of your constellation has a value to the earner, to your organization, and to those who would reward or offer opportunities to bearers of each badge.
- Identify or develop an assessment strategy. How will you know when an earner is ready to receive a badge? Are existing assessments, observation opportunities, or measures already in place, or does your system require new ways to determine when an individual has qualified for a digital badge or credential? What activities or work will be assessed, and what evidence can accompany each issued badge?
- Determine relationships within the system and how learners progress. Is your plan one that shows progress, where components build on one another? How does one badge relate to another or stack to support ongoing personal or professional development?
- Incorporate benefits, opportunities, and rewards into the system. Work backwards from the benefits that will be available to those who earn badges in your system. Does each badge serve a greater purpose than itself? What doors does it unlock for earners? How will you communicate and promote the value of your badges to all constituents?
- Address technology considerations. How will you create and issue badges? Where and how will the badges be displayed or consumed by other systems and platforms in which they realize their potential value?
- Develop an appropriate graphic design. While the visual design is but one element of a badge rich with data, how an achievement is visually represented communicates a great deal of additional information. Digital badges offer a unique and powerful opportunity to market the skills and capabilities of those who complete your programs, and badges promote your initiatives as well as your organization and what it values.
more on badges in this blog
Badging: Not Quite the Next Big Thing
While badging and digital credentialing are gaining acceptance in the business world and, to some extent, higher education, K-12 educators — and even students — are slower to see the value.
By Michael Hart 07/20/16
That’s when the MacArthur Foundation highlighted the winning projects of its Badges for Lifelong Learning competition at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Chicago. The competition, co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation, had attracted nearly 100 competitors a year earlier. The winners shared $2 million worth of development grants.
Evidence of Lifelong Learning
A digital badge or credential is a validation, via technology, that a person has earned an accomplishment, learned a skill or gained command of specific content. Typically, it is an interactive image posted on a web page and connected to a certain body of information that communicates the badge earner’s competency.
Credly is a company that offers off-the-shelf credentialing and badging for organizations, companies and educational institutions. One of its projects, BadgeStack, which has since been renamed BadgeOS, was a winner in the 2013 MacArthur competition. Virtually any individual or organization can use its platform to determine criteria for digital credentials and then award them, often taking advantage of an open-source tool like WordPress. The credential recipient can then use the BadgeOS platform to manage the use of the credential, choosing to display badges on social media profiles or uploading achievements to a digital resume, for instance.
Finkelstein and others see, with the persistently growing interest in competency-based education (CBE), that badging is a way to assess and document competency.
Colorado Education Initiative, (see webinar report in this IMS blog http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2016/06/20/colorados-digital-badging-initiative/)
There are obstacles, though, to universal acceptance of digital credentialing.
For one, not every community, company or organization sees a badge as something of value.
When a player earns points for his or her success in a game, those points have no value outside of the environment in which the game is played. For points, badges, credentials — however you want to define them — to be perceived as evidence of competency, they have to have portability and be viewed with value outside of their own environment.
More on badges in this IMS blog:
Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases.
In recent years, digital badging systems have become a credible means through which learners can establish portfolios and articulate knowledge and skills for both academic and professional settings. Digital Badges in Education provides the first comprehensive overview of this emerging tool. A digital badge is an online-based visual representation that uses detailed metadata to signify learners’ specific achievements and credentials in a variety of subjects across K-12 classrooms, higher education, and workplace learning. Focusing on learning design, assessment, and concrete cases in various contexts, this book explores the necessary components of badging systems, their functions and value, and the possible problems they face. These twenty-five chapters illustrate a range of successful applications of digital badges to address a broad spectrum of learning challenges and to help readers formulate solutions during the development of their digital badges learning projects.
Badges and Leaderboards: Professional Developments for Teachers in K12
Why should I bother earning badges?
issues to consider:
More on badges and gaming in education in this IMS blog:
U Massachusetts Launches its First Online Badge Program
By Joshua Bolkan, 03/17/16
The University of Massachusetts’ online consortium, UMassOnline, has launched its first non-credit badge program.
Teaching with Call of Duty, World of Warcraft Subject of New Penn State Course
By Dian Schaffhauser, 03/18/16
“Gaming 2 Learn,” part of Learning Design & Tech, is being offered online to current and future educators through the university’s World Campus. Instructor Ali Carr-Chellman, who once published an article on the Huffington Post titled, “We Need More Games in Schools,”
Students who participate in the course will do a project in which they pick a commercial game and describe how it integrates with their chosen content area. They also need to watch kids play their favorite games and play alongside them, then reflect on those experiences.
More on gaming in this blog:
more on badges in this blog: