Badges for Lifelong Learning
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Badges for Lifelong Learning
Supported by the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative
Curated by HASTAC
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Badges for Learning Research

Badges for Learning Research | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

What is the current state of research on recognition and accreditation systems for informal and interest-driven learning? In the Badges for Learning Research Collection, we explore some of the opportunities provided by employing badges and other assessment systems in learning communities, some of the dangers, and consider the pressing research questions that need to be addressed.


Over the last year, a  wide-ranging public conversation about potential future applications of badges and the place of badges in our learning ecosystem has captured the attention of educators, technology makers, and researchers. How can current and past research inform these debates?


What are the most important questions we need to raise about the effective design and deployment of badge and reputation systems? What empirical and theoretical research supports and informs the design, development, and deployment of digital badges and badge systems across a diverse range of learning content, institutions, and approaches? 

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grainnehamilton's curator insight, August 1, 2013 4:53 AM

Collection of posts focusing on thinking and questions around Open Badges.

EsdeGroot's curator insight, August 1, 2013 11:15 AM

Need to look into this. Interesting!

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What reputation systems can teach us about badge system design | HASTAC

What reputation systems can teach us about badge system design | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Dan Hickey's recent post Research Design Principles for Studying Learning with Badges  prompted me to reflect on the distinction between reputation systems and credentialing / badge systems. Why does this distinction matter? In part because the research on recommender and reputation systems that underpin the "anywhere, anytime" learning of the Web have much to teach us about how people participate online, how they establish trust, and how they find, define, and measure quality.

 

Likewise, the information science literature has much to learn from education and learning science disciplines. We need both bodies of research (and many others) if we are to design effective badge systems that genuinely make learning better for the maximum number of learners. 

 

The most important reason for this distinction, though, is because there are asymmetric power-law distributions in online reputation systems and by paying attention to what is already known about technology-mediated social participation, we can consider how we might inadvertently replicate inequity through badge system design. Maybe that's a topic for another post. But there is an implied argument among advocates of reputation-based or peer learning that crowdsourcing credentials is better than the traditional system of credentialing.

 

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PascaleHP's curator insight, July 18, 2013 4:29 PM

via DML Competition - need to consider the peer learning/crowdsourcing credentials more than trad ways.

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Are badges useful in education?: It depends upon the type of badge and expertise of learner | HASTAC

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Samuel Abramovich, Christian Schunn, and Ross Mitsuo Higashi have published a new article about learner motivation and badges at Educational Technology Research and Development.

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Research: Quantifying the Impact of Badges on User Engagement

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Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges | Dan Hickey

Recognizing, Supporting, and Attracting Adult Learners with Digital Badges | Dan Hickey | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Shifting demographics and workplaces create new needs for non-traditional adult learners. Two responses to these changes have been online learning and certificates. The use of digital badges is another response to these needs that is full of potential.

 

Digital badges offer new ways to recognize and support learning. This means that they also offer new ways of attracting students. When used appropriately, digital badges contain and present compelling evidence of learning and accomplishment. Students will naturally want to share their badges and the information they contain with their friends and colleagues via social networks, Twitter, or even email. This sharing should help programs and schools connect with previously untapped prospective students. In particular, the sharing of digital badges can help specialized programs gain recognition within whatever networks are associated with that specialization. When done right, this sharing should help busy adults who are not actively considering further education to see the value of a particular program.

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The Future is Now: Unpacking Digital Badging and Micro-credentialing for K-20 Educators | HASTAC

The Future is Now: Unpacking Digital Badging and Micro-credentialing for K-20 Educators | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The use of digital badges has myriad implications for faculty preparing future educators, specifically K-16 administrators; potentially, the repercussions of the movement could reverberate throughout K-20 education, as a “disruptive” technology, compelling the rethinking the existing structures and frameworks of education in formal environments. Are digital badges “insurgent credentials” as recently described by Dr. Mike Olneck? (2012). Or could they be a progressive and conciliatory bridge to acknowledge and validate learning in both formal and informal environments?

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Tired of Grades? Take a Badge |

Tired of Grades? Take a Badge | | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Instead of a good old report card, some teachers are measuring their students’ achievement in a way that might be familiar to say, your average Girl Scout: badges.

 

With the digital badge system, conventional grades are done away with. In place of an A or a B or a C, teachers award badges that reflect a certain amount of learning.  Each badge, which can be placed on a student’s personal website for prospective employers to peruse, can denote mastery of a given subject area in a level of detail that a letter grade cannot quite convey. A visual resume, if you will, digital badges each represent a single skill-set, so that someone looking to hire can easily see the full extent of what someone has to offer. Digital badges can even offer recognition of skills that are not usually graded, such as leadership, technology prowess and ability to think quickly.

 
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Insurgent Credentials: A Challenge to Established Institutions of Higher Education? | Michael Olneck on HASTAC

Insurgent Credentials: A Challenge to Established Institutions of Higher Education? | Michael Olneck on HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Michael frames badges as a disruptive force within higher education, provoking his readers (initially directed towards sociologists) to evaluate the assumptions and norms of traditional institutions to legitimize and certify knowledge and skills. As Michael writes, his paper "establishes the need to develop sociological explanations for recent developments of certification of skill and knowledge mastery as possible substitutes for, or supplements to, conventional college and university degrees."

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Three Firsts: Bloomington’s First Hackjam, ForAllBadges’ App, and Participatory Assessment + Hackasaurus

Three Firsts: Bloomington’s First Hackjam, ForAllBadges’ App, and Participatory Assessment + Hackasaurus | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

On Thursday, June 7, 2012, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University in conjunction with the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) in Bloomington, IN put on a Hackjam for resident youth. The six hour event was a huge success. Students were excited and engaged throughout the day as they used Hackasaurus’ web editing tool X-Ray Goggles to “hack” Bloomington’s Herald Times. The hackers learned some HTML & CSS, developed some web literacies, and learned about writing in different new media contexts. We did some cool new stuff that we think others will find useful and interesting. We are going to summarize what we did in this post. We will elaborate on some of these features in subsequent posts, and try to keep this one short and readable.

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Initial Consequences of the DML 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition

Initial Consequences of the DML 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The parade of directors and department heads from DOE, NASA, Veterans Affairs, and elsewhere at the September 2011 launch event suggested that this initiative was going to have some impact. Given that other education funding agencies routinely spend far more on a single project, this level of attention for a $2M competition must have raised some eyebrows in DC (more at http://bit.ly/w3Jxc0).

 

On one hand, it is simple to add open badges to an existing educational ecosystem. With the Open Badges Interface (OBI) being developed by Stage 3 awardee Philipp Schmidt and Peer 2 Peer University, virtually anybody should be able to easily offer digital badges for accomplishments. By structuring and simplifying the peer reviewing process, communities will be able to negotiate criteria and establish validity and value.

 

But there is more to it. Barry Joseph of Global Kids put it perfectly at the end of the meeting: "Introducing badges into an educational ecosystem is like developing a new website within a company or an organization.” Barry explained how the seemly simple process of creating a website often reveals unexamined sources of power and information, and forces communities to explicate reams of previously tacit information. Introducing badges forces learning organizations to do the same thing.

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Some Things about Assessment that Badge Developers Might Find Helpful | HASTAC

Some Things about Assessment that Badge Developers Might Find Helpful | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

As an assessment researcher scrutinizing the funded and unfunded Badges for Lifelong Learning proposals, I thought I would try something more specific. In particular I want to explore whether distinctions that are widely held in the assessment community can help show how some of the concerns that people have raised about badges (nicely captured at David Theo Goldberg’s “Threading the Needle…” DML post). I have posted a longer version at Remediating Assessment.

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Announcing Winners of the Digital Media and Learning Research Competition | Rewards, Reputation, Recognition

Announcing Winners of the Digital Media and Learning Research Competition | Rewards, Reputation, Recognition | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Join the winners of the Digital Media and Learning Research Competition, "Badges, Trophies, and Achievements," for a conversation about the current state of research on recognition and accreditation systems for informal and interest-driven learning. We will explore some of the opportunities provided by employing badges and other assessment systems in learning communities, some of the dangers, and consider the pressing research questions that need to be addressed. Over the last year, a wide-ranging public conversation about potential future applications of badges and the place of badges in our learning ecosystem has captured the attention of educators, technology makers, and researchers. How can current and past research inform these debates? What are the most important questions we need to raise about the effective design and deployment of badge and reputation systems?

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Badges as Goals: Achievement Goal Theory

Badges as Goals: Achievement Goal Theory | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Using achievement goal theory to predict the ways in which these divergent orientations towards learning might impact a learner’s motivation within a badge system can be useful. Badge systems are certainly patterned after similar systems within digital games, where these goal orientations have resulted in the negative outcomes associated with performance goal orientations. Studies that have examined gamers’ motivations have found a negative impact on mood when players adopted a performance goal orientation towards the game, valuing achievements over other aspects of game play (Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006). Additionally, there are contextual factors that interact with these individual student orientations.

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The Transcendent Potential of Digital Badges and Paradigm Shifts in Education | HASTAC

The Transcendent Potential of Digital Badges and Paradigm Shifts in Education | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

In previous posts at HASTAC and Remediating Assessment I argued that we need to look beyond the intended purposes of digital badges and consider the actual functions of badges.  This builds on what Jim Greeno has convinced me what happens when situative views of knowing and learning are applied to assessment. A later post elaborated on the summative, formative, and transformative functions of digital badges. That later post also promised a subsequent post on what we might calltranscendent functions.  I had written some about it in the original version but it was too long and I really could not wrap my head around it at the time.  The upshot was something like this:

Digital badges promise to allow some and force others to transcend existing paradigms of recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning.

Beyond this prediction I could not really add very much beyond referencing Cathy Davidson’s suggestion that the 2012 competition might be the “tipping point” for the DML community.

But in the last couple of week, Cathy Davidson, Bill Penuel, Michael Olneck and others have initiated a really great discussion of this issue on one of our project blog posts at HASTAC on studying learning with digital badges.  These exchanges convinced me to return the notion of transcendent functions in light of the work over the subsequent year. Cathy’s closing question on her initial comment really helped move my thinking forward:

Is it possible that the chief importance of badges will be to push wholesale reform of existing credentialing systems?   Or is the present system too much rooted in an antiquated view of disciplines, competencies, expertise, authority, credentialing, ability/disability, hierarchy and data to be as useful as badging potentially is for new ways of defining the talents needed in the world we live in now?


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re-mediating assessment: Digital Badges Meeting at the NSF Headquarters Hosted by NYSCI

Monday April 1st we travelled to the NSF headquarters in Arlington, VA. There, Michelle Riconscente and Margaret Honey from the New York Hall of Science hosted a meeting with an impressive list of attendees. STEM educators, members from after school programs, researchers, professors from all different disciplines (computer science, educational psychology, learning sciences) among others met to discuss the current and future research surrounding badges.Rebecca Itow, Cathy Tran, and I were invited to attend as members of the Badge Design Principles Documentation project and had been asked to serve as official note takers of the meeting. We ended up doing Dan Hickey’s presentation on the project and about digital badges research because Dan instead had to attend to a death in his family. Our presentation went over well and the audience was very interested in the initial set of design principles emerging across the 30 projects funded by the Gates/MacArthur Badges for Lifelong Learning initiativeAlong with discussions about the logistical concerns about the use badges such as how to manage these various systems (Erin Knight from Mozilla), on-the-ground depictions of badge systems (Alejandro Molina from the Providence After School Alliance, Marc Lesser from MOUSE, Inc, and Akili Lee from the DigitalYouth Network, just to name a few), and the potential for badges to optimize student learning (Barry Fishman). We candidly spoke about some concerns about badging such as “what is the life expectancy of a badge” (Avi Kaplan), and “what are some of the challenges and what are some of the insights as a result of this work?” (Michelle Riconscente).
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An Open, Distributed System for Badge Validation

An Open, Distributed System for Badge Validation | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

There have been a lot of people that have claimed that badges could replace degrees. That collections of badges could serve as legitimate portfolios or pathways that tell the same story as a degree, and in fact tell a much more in depth story given that we can use badges to capture more granular learning and each badge is evidence-based. I get asked a lot if I believe that badges will replace degrees and it’s a tough question. It’s not what we are setting out to do necessarily, the use case for badges in informal learning spaces is a primary one since that learning is not currently recognized. But I know I do believe in the utopia where learners can craft their own paths across the many learning opportunities available - especially those that are free and accessible. Where on-the-job experience counts for you in a real way. Where all of the learning and experiences in your lifetime are connected and stitched together around your identity or identities. Degrees definitely do no do this for you, but badges could.

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Winners Announcement: A Digital Media and Learning Research Competition on Badging and Badge Systems Development | HASTAC

Winners Announcement: A Digital Media and Learning Research Competition on Badging and Badge Systems Development | HASTAC | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it
DML Competition's insight:

Congratulations to Katie, Jim, Alex, Sean, and Jan! We look forward to learning more about badges through their research. 

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re-mediating assessment: Introducing Digital Badges Within and Around Universities

re-mediating assessment: Introducing Digital Badges Within and Around Universities | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

Sheryl Grant from HASTAC recently posted a detailed summary of resources about uses of digital badges in higher education. It was a very timely post for me as I had been asked to draft just such a brief by an administrator at Indiana University where I work.  Sheryl is the director of social networking for the MacArthur/Gates Badges for Lifelong Learning initiative.  Her job leaves her uniquely knowledgeable about the explosive growth of digital badges in many settings, including colleges and universities.  In this post, I want to explore one of the issues that Sheryl raised about the ways badges are being introduced in higher education, particularly as it relates to Indiana’s Universities.

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Initial Questions About Digital Badges and Learning | Dan Hickey

Initial Questions About Digital Badges and Learning | Dan Hickey | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

What learning-related functions will your badges serve? All badges function to recognize learning; as such, most badging practices also function to assess learning. Existing learning systems tend to be organized around teaching rather than learning. This means that deciding what learning to recognize and how to assess that learning can be surprisingly challenging. Recognizing and assessing learning serves to motivate learning. But some of the motivational functions are likely to be unplanned and unintended. Additionally, badging practices offer (mostly unexplored) potential for evaluating and studying learning. Finally, these functions interact with each other in complex and unpredictable ways. These functions and their interactions are explored here.

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Intended Purposes Versus Actual Functions of Digital Badges | Dan Hickey

Intended Purposes Versus Actual Functions of Digital Badges | Dan Hickey | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

My interest in the  function of badges was spurred along when the MacArthur Foundation asked me to help document the design principles for using digital badges that emerge across the 30 projects underway by the awardees in their Badges for Lifelong Learning project.  We need to come up with a manageable number of categories; I almost always consider “manageable” to be at least three and no more than five.  After reading a bunch of stuff and talking to Barry Joseph at Global Kids and Carla Casilli at Mozilla, Connie Yowell at MacArthur, and MacArthur Scholar Mimi Itow, my team and I settled on the following four categories of functions for digital badges to shape our study...

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Calling all researchers! Badging and Badge Systems Development Research Competition

In March 2012, the Digital Media and Learning Competition on Badges for Lifelong Learning (supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) awarded 30 development grants to support the creation of digital badges and badge systems that contribute to, identify, recognize, measure, and account for new skills, competencies, knowledge, and achievements for 21st century learners wherever and whenever learning takes place.

 

We seek research proposals that support and inform the design, development, and deployment of the digital badges and badge systems in any of these categories:

 

1. The Digital Media and Learning Badges for Lifelong Learning general category, which supported the development of badges and badge systems across a diverse range of content, institutions, and approaches.

 

2. Project Mastery awards focusing on the efficacy of badging systems for learning at Gates Foundation supported Project Mastery sites (School District of Philadelphia, Adams County School District 50, Asia Society). Project Mastery projects promote learning that is mastery based and Common Core aligned. The aim is to support new learning and knowledge, real-world outcomes like jobs, credit for new skills and achievements, and whole new ways to level up in their life and work.

 

3. Teacher Mastery badge projects that track and promote feedback regarding the competencies, skills programs and subjects over which teachers acquire expertise. These include systems for recognizing and rewarding some of the capacities, skills and content needed to effectively teach math, literacy, or digital literacy skills and/or to effectively teach to the Common Core State Standards.

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Alex Halavais, A Genealogy of Badges

The use of badges on the web, particularly on community sites, has become very popular, and these badges are becoming both more easily carried from one site to another and more valuable in the process. But badges are not new; the metaphor of the online badge draws on centuries of use in the offline world. And the use of badges online has the potential of bringing with it the echo of these earlier uses and the values that they were imbued with. This article explores online badges, drawing on their history and the ethical framework presented by Jane Jacobs in ‘Systems of Survival’ to suggest some ways of ensuring that badges are used effectively online.

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re-mediating assessment: Open Badges and the Future of Assessment

re-mediating assessment: Open Badges and the Future of Assessment | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

As the competition unfolded, I followed the inevitable debate over the consequences of “extrinsic rewards” like badges on student motivation. Thanks in part to Daniel Pink’s widely read book Drive, many worried that badges would trivialize deep learning and leave learners with decreased intrinsic motivation to learn. The debate was played out nicely (and objectively) at the HASTAC blog via posts from Mitch Resnick and Cathy Davidson . I have been arguing in obscure academic journals for years that sociocultural views of learning call for an agnostic stance towards incentives. In particular I believe that the negative impact of rewards and competition says more about the lack of feedback and opportunity to improve in traditional classrooms. There is a brief summary of these issues in a chapter on sociocultural and situative theories of motivation that Education.com commissioned me to write a few years ago. One of the things I tried to do in that article and the other articles it references is show why rewards like badges are fundamentally problematic for constructionists like Mitch, and how newer situative theories of motivation promise to resolve that tension. One of the things that has been overlooked in the debate is that situative theories reveal the value of rewards without resorting to simplistic behaviorist theories of reinforcing and punishing desired behaviors.

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Are open badges the future for recognition of skills? | via Doug Belshaw

Are open badges the future for recognition of skills?  | via Doug Belshaw | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

From a session at the 2012 JISC CETIS Conference:

 

This session provided a forum to explore several of the many connected issues: learners claiming and evidencing skills, and expressing their values and self-identity; documenting that not only official courses, but many activities offer valuable learning outcomes; certifying assessment not only by institutions, but by companies, other organisations and even peer groups; and enabling employers and others to see the information they value about people's abilities.

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DML: Are Badges the Answer? Perspectives on Motivation for Lifelong Learning | DML2012

DML: Are Badges the Answer? Perspectives on Motivation for Lifelong Learning | DML2012 | Badges for Lifelong Learning | Scoop.it

The field of digital media and learning is focusing attention on badges as motivators and credentials for lifelong learning. Are badges and related reward systems crowding out other important sources of motivation? Join this session for a provocative yet practical discussion of approaches for engaging youth in sustained pursuit of learning.

 

Panelists will share ideas from research and practice on creating conditions that foster motivation for learning. Session participants will engage in discussion of examples of youth engaged in learning online and offline, with each scenario highlighting a different source of motivation and alternative pathways for gaining recognition. Panelists and participants will discuss how to apply these concepts and approaches to the design of digital environments and initiatives.

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