Open Badges: Supporting Learning and Employability by Recognising Skills Development


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Slides for my presentation at the Sheffield Hallam University Learning and Teaching Conference, 19th June 2013

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Open Badges: Supporting Learning and Employability by Recognising Skills Development

  1. 1. Dr. Ian Glover, Technology Enhanced Learning team, Student and Learning Services
  2. 2. Visual representation of achievement, experience, affiliation and/or interest - ideally distinctive and understood within a community.  Some examples:
  3. 3. “Badges mean nothing in themselves, but they mark a certain achievement and they are a link between the rich and the poor. For when one girl sees a badge on a sister Scout’s arm, if that girl has won the same badge, it at once awakens an interest and sympathy between them.” - Juliette G. Low, Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA
  4. 4.  Link to criteria and evidence for award  Add security and verification  can check whether a person was actually awarded a specific badge  Have the credibility of the awarding body  Allow sharing of 'badge clusters' from different sources with others on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  Essentially, an image + embedded information
  5. 5. Open BadgesAnatomy (Updated) by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA.
  6. 6.  Growing recognition that significant amounts of learning happens outside the classroom  Grade transcripts hide the truth about learning  Strong links with current trends such as MOOCs, Gamification, Mobile Learning  but can be used independently of these
  7. 7.  Surface the learning 'hidden' in a transcript  Encourage students to undertake co- and extra- curricular activities  Helps recognise informal learning  Enables students to differentiate themselves from classmates  The rise of the Informal University?  (MOOCs + Badges) * Awareness = Degree-equivalent?
  8. 8. Swiss Army Badge by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  9. 9.  Showing competency in a skill,  e.g. nursing students taking blood samples  Recognising extra-curricular activity  e.g. a music student participating in an orchestra  Representing co-curricular development  e.g. participation in Students' Union activities, such as chairing society meetings
  10. 10.  Identifying common themes in a programme  e.g. showing all modules that develop debating skills  Getting businesses and professional bodies involved  e.g. co-creating badges that meet workplace skills, or professional attributes  Build toward specialism badges  e.g. students get badges that relate to their learning journey, by reflecting their optional modules
  11. 11.  Are there skills that students use and develop?  Do you have extra-curricular activities to encourage?  Do you want to draw links between learning and skills demanded by employers/professional bodies?
  12. 12. Indiana Jones and the lost badge by Kyle Bowen.
  13. 13.  For greatest effect:  Make them as professional-looking as possible  Issue cross-module badges  Badges should push students to go beyond the minimum  Tell businesses/professional bodies about them  Link badges to 'real-world', desirable skills  Each badge must represent a substantial and meaningful skill or experience
  14. 14. Carpet Badging by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  15. 15.  Image creation  (  Online Badge Maker (  Badge creation and issuing  (  All-in-one system  Credly (
  16. 16. Contact: Dr. Ian Glover