Investigating Perceptions and Potential of Open Badges in Formal Higher Education


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Slides from presentation at Edmedia 2013. They cover the findings of our research and some recommendations on how to start using Open Badges at other institutions

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Investigating Perceptions and Potential of Open Badges in Formal Higher Education

  1. 1. INVESTIGATING PERCEPTIONS AND POTENTIAL OF OPEN BADGES IN FORMAL HIGHER EDUCATION Dr. Ian Glover, Sheffield Hallam University, UK Farzana Latif, City University London, UK
  2. 2. WHAT IS A BADGE? 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. 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 badge o Allow 'clusters' of badges to be shared with others o Basically, an image + related data
  5. 5. Open Badges Anatomy (Updated) by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA.
  6. 6. WHY IS THERE A BUZZ ABOUT THEM? o Growing recognition that learning happens outside the classroom 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
  8. 8. WHAT DID WE DO IN OUR PROJECT? 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
  9. 9. WHAT DID WE FIND? o Students want to use badge to stand out from peers o Desire to link badges to requirements of professional accreditation o Important not to issue too many - each badge must represent genuine achievement
  10. 10. 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 structures o Students would use them when applying for jobs or further study o Helped to recall their development and the skills that they had developed o staff would use them when writing references
  11. 11. Carpet Badging by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  12. 12. COMMON CRITICISMS (AND HOW WE ADDRESSED THEM AFTERWARDS) o "Childish" 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. Swiss Army Badge by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  15. 15. POTENTIAL USES 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 activities
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. Indiana Jones and the lost badge by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  18. 18. GETTING STARTED o Image creation o ( o Online Badge Maker ( o Badge creation and issuing o ( o All-in-one system o Credly (
  19. 19. STILL GETTING STARTED o Educational platforms introducing badges o Moodle (from 2.6) o Blackboard (from latest Service Pack) o Mahara o PebblePad o Wordpress o etc. o Central, common 'backpack' (
  20. 20. Lord of the Badges? by Kyle Bowen. CC-BY-SA
  21. 21. CONTACT US Dr. Ian Glover email - blog - Farzana Latif email - twitter - @farzanalatif