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.
Whether you’re using a smartphone or a DSLR camera, one thing Roberto recommends before recording is to check the environment. Look for and remove any distractions from the background. For example, if there’s noise from cars driving by you can change your location. If there’s a part of your office that needs to be cleaned, you can tidy up.
He also says you should think about the context of your background. For instance, when Roberto does personal vlogs as motivation for creatives and entrepreneurs who might be thinking about giving up, he uses his bookshelf as the backdrop. It’s appropriate because there is literally a collection of people behind him who put something out there and could have quit just as easily.
Roberto also notes you should consider audio, the lighting in the room, and take a photo of the shot, to check framing and composition, before you film. The photo gives you a way to make sure the video will be shot at the angle you want. Roberto shares that if he’s filming with his camera, he’ll use the remote or a timer to take a photo of him in the shot. With a smartphone, he says you can use a selfie stick, or tripod, or the timer feature.
Adobe Premiere Clip, which is simple to use. All you need is a free Adobe account, which you can sign up for via email. It can upload video directly to YouTube and Facebook for you. It also has color grading filters, lets you loop background audio (they have a few tracks which are royalty free), mix down the audio, edit clips together, cut things out, and more.
Plus, if you have professional software, like Adobe Premiere Pro at home, you can do a rough cut of everything in Premiere Clip from your phone, and then save it to Creative Cloud, go back to your desktop, and then tweak and do all the advanced editing there.
Seeking to bring the qualities of well-designed games to pedagogical assessment, the University of Michigan created a learning management system that uses gaming elements such as competition, badges and unlocks to provide students with a personalized pathway through their courses.
a new type of learning management system called GradeCraft. GradeCraft borrows game elements such as badges and unlocks to govern students’ progress through a course. With unlocks, for example, you have to complete a task before moving to the next level.
Written in Ruby on Rails and hosted on Amazon Web Services, GradeCraft was created by a small team of students and faculty with additional software support from Ann Arbor-based developer Alfa Jango. Their work received support from UM’s Office of Digital Education and Innovation and the Office of the Provost. GradeCraft can work as a stand-alone platform or in conjunction with a traditional LMS via the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) protocol.
Here is how it works: Instructors create a course shell within GradeCraft (similar to the process with any LMS). Students use a tool called the “Grade Predictor” to plan a personalized pathway through the course, making predictions about both what they will do and how they will perform. When assignments are graded, predictions turn into progress; students are then nudged to revisit their semester plan, reassessing what work is available and how well they need to do to succeed overall. Students are able to independently choose an assessment pathway that matches their interests within the framework of learning objectives for the course.
Alienware, Zotac, and MSI have all shown off self-contained backpacks that can be used with the HTC Vive, and companies like The Void have created their own “backtops” for location-based entertainment.