Case Study 6: Mozilla Open Badges
Badges can play a crucial role in the connected learning ecology by acting as a bridge between contexts, making these alternative learning channels and types of learning more viable, portable, and impactful. Badges can be awarded for a potentially limitless set of individual skills—regardless of where each skill is developed—and a collection of badges can begin to serve as a virtual résumé of competencies and qualities for key stakeholders, including peers, schools, or potential employers. Specifically, badges support capturing and communicating learning paths, signaling achievement, motivating learning, and driving innovation and flexibility, as well as building identity, reputation, and kinship. Thus, badges can provide a way to translate all types of learning into a powerful tool for getting jobs, finding communities of practice, demonstrating skills, and seeking out further learning.
Peer badges were also built around the peer-to-peer interactions and were awarded directly from one peer to another. Finally, participation badges were based on stealth assessment and data-tracking logic built into the learning environment. While the sample size was small due to constraints of the course cycles, the pilot resulted in a solid proof-of-concept of the potential for badges and these approaches to assessment.
How Badges Really Work in Higher Education
The badges have several layers, Wisser says. While the top level signifies that you completed elements of the coursework, the badges have stripes for other accomplishments such as leading a discussion or teaching peers. “These badges are visible to other students, and if you are struggling in one area, you could turn to someone more accomplished–as shown by their badge–for help. Or if you were strong in a certain area and saw someone else was struggling, you could reach out to that person.”
More in this IMS blog on badges: