It’s been something I’ve only come across as I started working in higher education and through the connections I’ve made but I believe there is great merit and value in the use of badges for recognition of learning. Dana Offerman puts it this way in her article Better Prior Learning Assessment Can Be Higher Education’s Merit Badge that:
Not only can badges help people learn, they can also enable individuals to demonstrate what they have learned. Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that “badges can help engage students in learning, and broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate—as well as document and display—their skills.”
I earned a badge recently through my completion of the MOOC on Coursesites called Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success that has been facilitated by Dr Curtis Bonk from Indiana University. I have to admit that for some reason it was a motivator to be able to achieve a badge through the completion of the identified activities and it prompted me to consider further the use of such a tool in education settings.
A working document from authors at The Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer Univeristy, in collaboration with The MacArthur Foundation explores Open Badges For Lifelong. The consideration of learner scenarios in the document really helps to provide an overview of the increasing need for non-traditional pathways of learning to be recognised in some form. Some great points are made on why and ways to do this. This Scoop.it collection, from the DML Competition, of aggregated resources on Badges in Lifelong Learning is also a very valuable source of information.
I will continue to explore this topic, however, I find that the integration of badges is highly motivating for me and it is being increasingly used in online professional learning courses and networks. It is a concept often brought up in gaming in education discussions as well and some might even say that the use of badges is ‘gamification’. Each of us will have a different take on that one. Whatever it’s called, the recognition for knowledge attainment and skill development outside of the traditional education infrastructures is definitely something that should happen. Our skills and professional capabilities are not limited to whatever our degree/s might stereotype or label but when on a CV we include our skills, why should it not be encouraged that we include badges that are gained through alternate learning pathways. Will continue to read and ponder…