What are Badges/Microcredit?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for informal learning in the form of micro-credits. A key aspect of gamification is to build in easy to reach incentives, and badges are an simple way to bring that idea to learning. The concept behind badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. 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 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?

  • If there is sufficient uptake it will very much improve the Recognition of Prior Learning process - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • It will encourage a move towards competency based education (CBE) and mastery learning - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • It may make your graduates more attractive if employers can more easily verify their accreditation and drill down to see what credits were awarded for - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • I agree with Brian if there is sufficient take up it will be incredibly beneficial in terms of RPL - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
  • As verifiable alternative credentials that employers can drill into to see more detail, they could attract learners away from higher educational institutions. They may be valuable to higher educational institutions by (i) allowing students to show more detail of their academic achievements, (ii) facilitate a move towards competency or mastery learning, (iii) facilitate the construction of shared infrastructure for easing recognition of prior learning (RPL/APL). - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015 Agree - badges have become one of the monetisation strategies of MOOCs; mainstream HE can learn and adapt the concept for flexible frameworks such as CPD. - b.murphy1 b.murphy1 Feb 14, 2015 - ken.brown ken.brown Feb 14, 2015 agree the utilisation of accredited badges But aren't badges and microcredits one of the current list of topics already (I think this is a list for what might need to be added) - Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Gearoid.OSuilleabhain Feb 15, 2015 Gearóid is correct - this is already listed - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 17, 2015[Editor's Note: Moved here from RQ2.]

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

  • A description of the power to include more information about the student in the digital awards - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • The improved ease of verification - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • I think quality control of the badges should be covered and I also feel the need for institutions to have a Badge "strategy" - to ensure that the quality is respected and maintained. - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
  • Digital Certification - if institutions move toward the issuing of digital certificates (like Mozilla badges) much mode data can be associated with the certificates and they can be more reliably authenticated. this will both help employers to evaluate candidates and organisations to evaluate prior learning (both relevance and quantity) more easily and so facilitate moving between institutions. - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015 - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 22, 2015 [Editor: Great point! This was added here from RQ3 discussions.]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

  • Two areas where I see it having an impact would be first in the area or recognised prior learning (RPL) and second in terms of graduate attributes - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
  • Expanding access to education particularly for adult learners who are unable to attend a HE campus due to their geographic location - nuala.mcguinn nuala.mcguinn Feb 23, 2015
  • Narrowing of skills gap and qualification levels of workers - particularly those who are at level 4-5- nuala.mcguinn nuala.mcguinn Feb 23, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Yes we have a series of skills based badges available for practical skills obtained as part of student orientation and also for some laboratory subjects.
  • Next year we hope to implement some badges for some graduate attributes - mark.glynn mark.glynn Feb 22, 2015
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