What are Badges/Micro-credits?

Badges are a mechanism to award incentives, progress indicators, and micro-credits. Badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results — people watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. Badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be a credible alternative for measuring knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition in a very granular way, as compared to standard tests, grades, or the venerable credit hour.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • In the area of staff professional development, particularly for HE teachers, micro credentials allow us to recognise important smaller components of a broader 'competency' or qualification.- kevin.ashford-rowe kevin.ashford-rowe Oct 4, 2015 - DaveP DaveP Oct 25, 2015 indeed at Staffordshire University we are planning to use for our Digital U digital capabilities project http://www.staffs.ac.uk/digitalu
  • The number of online courses, and the number of students participating in them has grown tremendously in the last three years, but this has yet to have a truly disruptive effect on higher-ed. The missing element is linking online education to measurement and certification -- and badges, micro-credit, and similar systems are the most likely mechanism for creating such linkage. - escience escience Oct 24, 2015
  • As acceptance and value proposition of badges/micro-credentials take off, curricular plans will be impacted in terms of equivalency, appreciation of academic freedom, and privacy matters informing policies and features in the processes and tools adopted to facilitate badging efforts. Badging can also be relevant to our staff and faculty development programs. - francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Nano Degrees and Micro Degree offered by Udacity and Coursera may offer alternatives in HIgher Education. See link in the sections below - Maya Maya Oct 18, 2015Maya Georgieva
  • Badges, micro-credit and micro0attribution systems are not only being used with open educational system but with scientific publication -- e.g. through Mozilla Open Badges, Community of Science, CREDIT, - escience escience - DaveP DaveP Oct 25, 2015
  • How an institution manages badges is an often overlooked area, the policy is vital in order for badges to gain acceptance. In HE terms we need to be prepared for future students to come with a badge collection and an expectation they build on their portfoilio. - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015
  • I agree with the comments above and I do think HE institutions need to understand the significance as per the following article. Particularly understanding open badges: https://www.pearsoned.com/wp-content/uploads/Open-Badges-for-Higher-Education.pdf - astoute astoute Oct 25, 2015 anna stoute
  • As new educational practices in which cross-institutional partnerships and workforce preparedness are implemented, badging and other forms of credentialing will be relevant. An example that comes to mind is Philadelphia’s Digital On-Ramp http://digitalonramps.com/partnership between higher ed institutions and industry.- francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015
  • While hinted at obliquely in the description above, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the implications for competency-based education (CBE) inherent in badging frameworks. As organizations become more experienced in articulating granular learning/performance steps (e.g., "competencies") there are far fewer steps toward a CBE implementation in which the credit hour is unbundled. While badges and CBE are not the same thing and do not have to go together, there are definite synergies to combining efforts. - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • More universities looking to offer short courses, certificate programs that respond to desired skills on the market rather than full-time degree programs. - Maya Maya Oct 18, 2015Maya Georgieva
  • The impact of massive online education combined with a robust process for granular measurement of credit has the potential to disrupt the mid-tier teaching institutions. Top-tier research and teaching institutions will still be competitive based on the strength of their residential experience; and community colleges will likely adapt and embrace on-line, but residential teaching institutions in the middle will be strongly challenged by the flexibility, and economy of online edu. - escience escience Oct 24, 2015
  • Determining what is most appropriate to badge. I would argue that not all at the academy should be badged. The process for determining and defining the value of a badge that is highly appreciated at the academy, the workplace, and the community of peers will require a collegial and consortial collaborative commitment. - francisca francisca Oct 25, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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