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Open Learning Badges and Higher Education:        Threats and Opportunities                  ALT-C 2012 Conference        ...
Learning is happening everywhere!
Most does not "count"• Skills assessment and communication is limited in the  current system,   – e.g. GPA, Bachelor or Ma...
The “Badging Movement”• Badges were:   – Physical or graphic icons representing a rank or     accomplishment.• Badges are ...
Badging and Mastery Learning.• In Higher Education:• Outcomes often poorly defined and  communicated.• Assessment currentl...
Emerging Interest in Badging• MacArthur Foundation Competition  – Kicked off by Secretary of Education Arne    Duncan as w...
The Open Badging Infrastructure• Will manage badges, worldwide   – Tools for badge issuers   – Tools for badge recipients ...
Impacts?            David Wiley’s            “Or Equivalent”           Chron                 icle o                       ...
Threat to Higher Education?•   Is there a cartel in Higher Ed qualifications?•   Why do employers value them so much?•   W...
What would it need to succeed?•   Authentication•   Reliability•   Robustness•   Cascading•   Quantification•   Aggregation
Opportunities?• Could drive important changes:   – Could improve focus and assessment      • What do we really care about ...
Opportunities?• Could influence students’ enrollment choices.   – Course credits & degrees, or Badges? Or both?       • Wh...
Opportunities?• Accreditation could change:   – From accreditation to offer degrees to accreditation to     offer badges  ...
Opportunities?• Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)  – Quickly verify previous learning     • Including MOOCs  – Aggregate...
What do you think?     Let’s talk.
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Open Learning Badges and Higher Education - Threats and Opportunities

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Mulligan, B., Passmore, D, Baker, R., Peck, P., "Open Learning Badges and Higher Education - Threats and Opportunities", ALT-C 2012 Conference, Manchester, 11-13 Sep, 2012

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Open Learning Badges and Higher Education - Threats and Opportunities

  1. 1. Open Learning Badges and Higher Education: Threats and Opportunities ALT-C 2012 Conference Manchester, September 11-13, 2012 Brian Mulligan Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland Kyle Peck David Passmore Rose Baker Penn State University, USA
  2. 2. Learning is happening everywhere!
  3. 3. Most does not "count"• Skills assessment and communication is limited in the current system, – e.g. GPA, Bachelor or Master degrees, static resume• Few alternatives to the current accreditation/credentialing system
  4. 4. The “Badging Movement”• Badges were: – Physical or graphic icons representing a rank or accomplishment.• Badges are becoming: – Digital, “clickable” representations of lifelong learning.• This seemingly simple notion has potentially significant implications for vocational training as well as for K-12 and higher education.
  5. 5. Badging and Mastery Learning.• In Higher Education:• Outcomes often poorly defined and communicated.• Assessment currently weak.• Grades don’t guarantee competency – But we can dodge the accountability for this failure.• Better for sorting students than for developing higher-order skills. Badging, if done well, may help us solve these problems.
  6. 6. Emerging Interest in Badging• MacArthur Foundation Competition – Kicked off by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as well as representatives from NASA, NSF, NAM, NEA – 30 demonstration projects funded• Mozilla has been funded to develop an “Open Badging Infrastructure”
  7. 7. The Open Badging Infrastructure• Will manage badges, worldwide – Tools for badge issuers – Tools for badge recipients – Tools for badge displayers (like FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.)• Badges will contain data and be “clickable,” with links to: – The criteria for earning the badge (Often “mastery”) – The assessment used to award the badge (optional) – The work (documents, videos, etc.) submitted as evidence of learning.
  8. 8. Impacts? David Wiley’s “Or Equivalent” Chron icle o f Highe r Educ ation , Janua ry
  9. 9. Threat to Higher Education?• Is there a cartel in Higher Ed qualifications?• Why do employers value them so much?• What if there was an alternative system?• Why might employers like badges? – Ease of verification – Detailed information – Mastery / Competence based• What if they liked them a lot?
  10. 10. What would it need to succeed?• Authentication• Reliability• Robustness• Cascading• Quantification• Aggregation
  11. 11. Opportunities?• Could drive important changes: – Could improve focus and assessment • What do we really care about in this course? • What do we need to see to certify that someone can DO something? • How will we define competence and communicate progress to learners? – Could lead to “mastery learning” and individualization – Could change “TEACHing” • Less focus on presentation / More focus on formative assessment and “certification” – Could it be the end of “courses” and semesters?
  12. 12. Opportunities?• Could influence students’ enrollment choices. – Course credits & degrees, or Badges? Or both? • Why take a course and get only “course credits” when you could get badges AND course credits?• Could raise employers’ expectations for quality and for information communicated about what people know and can do.• Could challenge long-standing reputations: – Standing of institutions not willing to use badges and reveal their expectations and assessments could quickly dive. – Institutions ready to do this well (existing or new) could rapidly develop strong reputations for quality.
  13. 13. Opportunities?• Accreditation could change: – From accreditation to offer degrees to accreditation to offer badges – From accrediting institutions to accrediting individuals.• Accountability could change: – Feedback loop? like Amazon.com? – When employers find a badge-holder who can’t perform, that could be conveyed to the accrediting agency or to the general public, like reviews of online products. – Accreditation could be revoked, and others granted badges by the same examiner could be asked to perform again.
  14. 14. Opportunities?• Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – Quickly verify previous learning • Including MOOCs – Aggregate achievements• Impact on Motivation
  15. 15. What do you think? Let’s talk.

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