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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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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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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