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.
Motivating busy higher education professionals to learn and engage with one another isn’t always an easy task; there are plenty of logistical hurdles, and often, little recognition of one’s efforts in an initiative.
The Integrated Advising and Planning for Student Success or ‘iPASS’ grant has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; it supports the transformation of advising and student services in higher ed through the redesign of structures, processes, and technologies. To date, this work is ongoing in 26 grantee institutions across the country. The focus is on more than the implementation and use of new and innovative technology
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 such, those not traditionally in the degree-granting realm—such as associations, online communities, and even employers—are now issuing “credit” for achievement they can uniquely recognize. At the same time, higher education institutions are rethinking the type and size of activities worthy of official recognition. From massive open online courses (MOOCs), service learning, faculty development, and campus events to new ways of structuring academic programs and courses or acknowledging granular or discrete skills and competencies these programs explore, there’s much 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 the 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
Consider the benefit of each minted badge or system to the earner, issuer, and observer
Develop a badge constellation or taxonomy for their own project
Consider forms of assessment suitable for evaluating badge earning
Learn about design considerations around the visual aspects of badges
Create a badge-issuing plan
NOTE: Participants will be asked to complete assignments in between the course segments that support the learning objectives stated above and will receive feedback and constructive critique from course facilitators on how to improve and shape their work.
Jonathan Finkelstein is founder and CEO of Credly, creator of the Open Credit framework, and founder of the open source BadgeOS project. Together these platforms have enabled thousands of organizations to recognize, reward, and market skills and achievement. Previously, he was founder of LearningTimes and co-founder of HorizonLive (acquired by Blackboard), helping mission-driven organizations serve millions of learners through online programs and platforms. Finkelstein is author of Learning in Real Time (Wiley), contributing author to The Digital Museum, co-author of a report for the U.S. Department of Education on the potential for digital badges, and a frequent speaker on digital credentials, open badges, and the future of learning and workforce development. Recent speaking engagements have included programs at The White House, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Smithsonian, EDUCAUSE, IMS Global, Lumina Foundation, ASAE, and the Federal Reserve. Finkelstein is involved in several open standards initiatives, such as the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Badge Alliance, American Council on Education (ACE) Stackable Credentials Framework Advisory Group, and the Credential Registry. He graduated with honors from Harvard.
In addition to helping Credly clients design credential systems in formal and informal settings, Susan Manning comes from the teaching world. Presently she teaches for the University of Wisconsin at Stout, including courses in instructional design, universal design for learning, and the use of games for learning. Manning was recognized by the Sloan Consortium with the prestigious 2013 Excellence in Online Teaching Award. She has worked with a range of academic institutions to develop competency-based programs that integrate digital badges. Several of her publications specifically speak to digital badge systems; other work is centered on technology tools and online education.
EDUC-441 Mobile Learning InstructionalDesign
Repeatable for Credit: No
Mobile learning research, trends, instructionaldesign strategies for curriculum integration and professional development.
EDUC-452 Universal Design for Learning
Repeatable for Credit: No Instructionaldesign strategies that support a wide range of learner differences; create barrier-free learning by applying universal design concepts.
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
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
High Impact ePortfolio Practice and the New Digital Ecosystem
A regional ePortfolio conference jointly sponsored by AAEEBL, City University of New York and Pace University, ReBundling Higher Education will offer sessions that highlight best practices, evidence of impact, and exciting innovations.
In March, 2017, the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), the City University of New York (CUNY) and Pace University invite you to a conference exploring and discussing ePortfolio practice and its role in the future of higher education. Use the links above to review the Call for Proposals (which outlines the themes of the conference), to register for the conference or to submit a proposal.
Conference proposals are due Dec. 2, 2016, and notification will take place by January 15, 2017.
Special note: Due to recent budget cuts to NYC area colleges, registration fees will be kept to a minimum for this conference. Students (graduate or undergraduate) will be admitted free, and registration for all others will be $25, payable at the door.
AAEEBL (The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based learning) starts the Baston Blog
Blockchain Credentialing: What Impact Will it Have?
Posted By Trent Batson Ph. D.
blockchain credentialing, big news since the MIT Media Lab offered an open source means of credentialing using blockchain technology (the technology behind bitcoin).
Blockchain credentialing makes verification of credentials much simpler and less time consuming, according to the articles I’ve collected below. Even IBM has entered the arena.
As with badges, we in the eportfolio world need to be aware of the trend toward blockchain credentialing. I’ve sorted through the links below so I could select those I thought would be most useful for you.
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.
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.