Investigating Perceptions and Potential of Open Badges in Formal Higher Education
INVESTIGATING PERCEPTIONS AND
POTENTIAL OF OPEN BADGES IN
FORMAL HIGHER EDUCATION
Dr. Ian Glover, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Farzana Latif, City University London, UK
WHAT IS A BADGE?
Visual representation of achievement, experience,
affiliation and/or interest - ideally distinctive and
understood within a community.
“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
WHAT IS AN OPEN BADGE?
o Many apps, websites and organisations issue badges,
but they are all separate
o Open Badges attempt to draw all these into one (free) place
o Include links to criteria and evidence
o Add security and verification
o can check whether a person was actually awarded a specific
o Allow 'clusters' of badges to be shared with others
o Basically, an image + related data
Open Badges Anatomy (Updated) by Kyle Bowen.
WHY IS THERE A BUZZ ABOUT
o Growing recognition that learning happens outside
o Grade transcripts hide the truth about learning
o Strong links with current trends such as MOOCs,
Gamification, Mobile Learning
o but can be used independently of these
WHAT DID WE DO IN OUR
o Semi-structured interviews with staff
o Whole institution
o Focus groups with students
o Health Sciences and Engineering
o None had prior knowledge of badges in HE
o but some were aware of other uses
o Intended to identify perception and value
o recommendation on whether to continue work
WHAT DID WE FIND?
o Students want to use badge to stand out from peers
o Desire to link badges to requirements of professional
o Important not to issue too many - each badge must
represent genuine achievement
WHAT ELSE DID WE FIND?
o Badges would act as a motivator
o would push students to go beyond the minimum
o would support both individualistic and competitive goal
o Students would use them when applying for jobs or
o Helped to recall their development and the skills that they
o staff would use them when writing references
(AND HOW WE ADDRESSED THEM AFTERWARDS)
o plan and design them to be meaningful
o "Hard to design without skills"
o simple, free tools available
o "Lack of consistency in use"
o set a policy about the requirements for a badge
SOME MORE CRITICISMS
o "Not credible with, for example, employers"
o involve employers in the design of badges
o "I get it, but my students/lecturers won't"
o didn't appear true through the interviews
o "This could become another assessment route"
o ideally it should reflect what is already happening
o Showing competency in a skill,
o e.g. nursing students taking blood samples
o Recognising extra-curricular activity
o e.g. a music student participating in an orchestra,
o Representing co-curricular development
o e.g. participation in Students' Union or Student Council
MORE POTENTIAL USES
o Identifying common themes in a programme
o e.g. showing all modules that develop debating skills
o Validating informal learning
o e.g. certifying a specific standard has been met
o Enabling students to differentiate themselves
o e.g. highlighting specialisms within a programme
Indiana Jones and the lost badge by Kyle Bowen.
o Image creation
o OpenBadges.me (http://openbadges.me)
o Online Badge Maker (http://www.onlinebadgemaker.com/)
o Badge creation and issuing
o badg.us (http://badg.us)
o All-in-one system
o Credly (http://credly.com)
STILL GETTING STARTED
o Educational platforms introducing badges
o Moodle (from 2.6)
o Blackboard (from latest Service Pack)
o Central, common 'backpack'