I am intrigued by the concept of badges for elearning.
Mozilla’s Open Badges were developed for organizations to issue, manage and display digital badges across the web. Mozilla’s Badges are being touted as a new method of recognizing and rewarding skills learned, both in and out of the classroom. Learners earn the badges which display their achievements and 21st century skills across the web, unlocking learning and employment opportunities. The badges system is open source and available to all.
“Dispatch from the Digital Frontier: Imagining a Badge System for e-Learning” is a great article in Learning Solutions Magazine by Anne Derryberry on the topic. In the article, Derryberry references a new report from Yahoo! Research entitled, “Badges in Social Media: A Social Psychological Perspective,” that identifies five primary functions that achievement badges provide. Derryberry adapted and expanded their list for e-Learning purposes:
- Goal setting – Goals can take many forms beyond the learning and/or performance goals we establish for our e-Learning participants. Participants might respond to time-based challenges, opportunities to achieve multiple certifications, calls to act as a coach or resource for fellow learners, and even requests to hunt down typos or factual errors in an e-Learning program. Research suggests that goals that are a bit out of one’s comfort zone can be highly motivating to participants.
- Instruction – By presenting the range of badges available within an e‑Learning program, participants gain an orientation to the “value system” that surrounds the program. Badge systems can also provide an organizing framework for the kinds of social interactions that a learning program and associated practice community embrace.
- Recall – Badges remind the learner of the experience that brought about the award. While subtle, badges can also help the badge holder recall the specifics of a learning event, including that event’s learning moments.
- Expertise and reputation – Badges provide a visual encapsulation of a badge-earner’s accomplishments, interests, and interactions. When displayed, colleagues can gain information about others’ skill sets, levels of participation, and additional factors that are important to the group.
- Status – Badges convey a level of status to those who earn them. The more badges earned, the higher the status gained. When badge systems provide rewards in many categories, badge holders can gain status related to things like expertise, team contribution, and helpfulness and availability to others.
- Group identification – In receiving a badge, the (l)earner gains not only a sense of accomplishment, but also feels acknowledgement by the group and the group’s organizers. This contributes to the learner’s feelings of connection to and affiliation with the group as a whole. Particularly for distributed teams, these feelings of connection can be quite valuable to enhancing the cohesion of the group.
- On-going incentive – Badge systems, by their very nature, keep learners connected to the learning community. The possibility of gaining new badges resulting from new learning and participation challenges, monitoring the achievements and successes of colleagues, and comparing personal stats with others’ accomplishments all serve to enhance one’s sense of attachment and to spur one to maintain one’s learning momentum.
I found this Prezi on the topic, too – Games SIGG Keynote – ISTE 2011 – http://prezi.com/mcxceode80ms/games-sigg-keynote-iste-2011/
I am just gathering some thoughts on the subject. I need to think about how I might implement badges and what badges I would offer to students. What do you think?