For this experiment to be successful, the badge systems that the DML Competition winners implement next year have to do a number of things at once. The first is pretty self evident: badges should only be earned after a learner completes a sufficiently rigorous curriculum developed by a trustworthy institution. Otherwise nobody will care when a learner earns a badge—least of all potential employers.
And that’s why the DML Competition was sure to seek out applicants with brand name muscle, like Disney, NASA, and MentorMob‘s own partners, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana and Motorola Mobility Foundation. (View a complete list of DML Competition Winners and an overview of MentorMob’s cooperative effort, My Girl Scout Sash is an App, for specifics.)
The second thing a badge system must do is a little more slippery—because it’s never really been done before. Each open badges team has to make sure that learners’ knowledge gain is accurately assessed. This assessment can take many different forms: multiple choice quizzes, short answer questions, peer review, and administrator tracking of learner behavior are just a few options, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. And so the technology partner for DML Competition teams (each of which is composed of a Curriculum Partner and a Technology Partner) are tasked with testing and iterating an interface to figure out what works and what doesn’t.