The following is a collection of projects, articles, studies etc. on (Open) Digital Badges and how they can support learning and recognition for vulnerable groups.
The authors examine the potential and status of blockchain technology from the perspective of self-sovereign learning. They describe and investigate projects on decentralized identity management as the basis of a learner-centered agency, on a national and European level, based on different types blockchains; the digital credentials as the “building blocks” of life-long learning, and its current lack of mobility and interoperability; and they describe a resistance to the adoption of decentralized open models, notably on the side of policy makers, higher education, and commercial entities.
This interview with the Dean of the College of Extended and International Education, CSU Dominguez Hills, points out three things:
- Digital credentials don’t change the curriculum or structure of a program, but they improve the value of the award.
- Employers can find potential candidates quickly and efficiently through digital credentials.
- As learners and employers adapt to digital, institutions and their leaders need to adapt as well.
Credentify is an API service in the cloud that enables universities and students to issue and receive micro-credentials that can be stacked into ECTS. This Erasmus+ funded project is already integrated into an open education video platform and piloted by four European universities to create new educational experiences. It is based on blockchain technologies and offers tools for developers and researchers. Credentify is the first European free and open credentials service to use European blockchain conventions for educational content, which immensely improves transfer and transparency of credentials. The website gives information on the product and provides case studies.
This wiki provides extensive background information about open badges, with badge project examples, links to research, case studies and FAQs. A useful starting point for anyone interested in implementing badges.
This article details experiences from a grassroots group in Northern England which implemented badges as an initiative to counteract loneliness and social isolation in the community. In addition to tackling marginalisation, the aim behind this social innovation project was to improve digital literacy in the community. Whilst this project was not a success story, the author shares some insights as to where the initiative failed, and gives advice to others looking to implement badges in non-formal or informal learning situations.
This article is aimed at educators providing online courses, and gives an easy to understand overview of the benefits of using digital badges for education providers offering online courses. The article hails badges as “an incredibly powerful tool” for the online education industry and presents strong arguments for why digital badges are beneficial for issuers (and earners).
The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy gathered information from partners on a two year pilot project focussing on expanding access to out-of-school learning opportunities for marginalised youth in Boston and Providence. The programme gives youth opportunities to develop real life skills, and uses digital badges to document their informal learning achievements. The report describes the projects and details the processes and takeaways from the project.
This study examines which competencies are valued by employers when it comes to information literacy and whether any of these skills are difficult to represent through formal qualifications. It investigates whether there is interest among employers in using digital badges as anaccreditation method for informal skills, and whether it varies between sectors. The study is based in the USA and surveys 114 relevant employers in different disciplines to research their perceptions around the information competence new employees (directly from higher education) possess and about whether digital Badges could be considered as a way to document such skills. The main finding from the research was that information literacy is valued in the workplace, but that these skills were often lacking in new employees. Of the 114 employers who participated, only 5% answered that they were not interested in the recognition of digital badges to assess such competencies.
Microbol – Micro-credentials linked to the Bologna Key Commitment is an Erasmus+ sponsored project that tries to give advice how to reform higher education, how this can comprise micro-credentials, also to support increasing access to continuous learning for all learners. This extensive research overview for the European Commission outlines the current state (2020) of usage of micro-credentials with a strong focus on higher education. It discusses, how different activities and instruments of European authorities and projects influence the adoption and recognition of micro-credentials. It also gives an overview of projects and activities that try to promote micro-credentials – both on a global and European level. With respect to our target group and goals, several question are raised, that affect the value and adoption of Digital Badges: – The ECTS provides guidelines for formal, non-formal and informal learning recognition. How do micro-credentials fit into those?
This report from UNESCO gives a concise introduction to the different forms of digital accreditation and the implications that digital credentialling can have for recognition. The paper outlines stakeholders and explores the features of different technical architectures. Implications for learning recognition and recommendations for digitalised accreditation in the future complete this paper, providing an overview of the current situation and the benefits and challenges which digital credentialing presents.
This excellent research paper reviews the history and use of Open Badges within Higher Education, it provides references to case studies from the early days of Open Badges to these days and their learning, regarding the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of use. The paper then follows a pilot program at the University of Talinn, as part of a Master level course on Research Methods, focusing on Open Badges as part of the curriculum, and using them in parallel for assessment of soft and hard skills and knowledge in a Bachelor level course. The paper presents variety of considerations and decisions taken within the process of implementing Open Badges, such as the technical platform, through the relation between formal learning and badges awarded, the development of personal learning paths, levels and form of assessments – which became more holistic and inclusive due to the integration of Open Badges. The pilot resulted , on the learners side, in more engagement and enthusiasm, great appreciation of the personal learning paths and a general positive experience, especially to the soft skills being recognized, and to the competitive / gamification elements involved. On the teachers’ side, the difference between previous forms of assessment and this one meant more adjusting and more consideration in each step. Overall, the advantages and value proved more positive and interesting to pursue, going forward.
This research paper examines the role and the contribution of Open Badges in open education systems, it reviews through case studies how Open Badges have been used so far and how could they be used to improve the quality of studies, especially in non-formal and informal education contexts. Key takeaways: There are various terms used for Open Badges under different educational contexts (table 1 – page 4) Through case studies, Open Badges prove to be a way for recording performance and progress, and to strengthen connections between community of users. Open Badges show promise improving engagement of studies To bring improvement of quality, a common and homogenized term and system of criteria and procedures is required. The research paper calls for development of a prototype for a common, open system of digital credentials and offers a set of criteria for it.
This is a case study review and interview with Peter Evans from the University of Edinburgh, who successfully implemented Open Badges at the institution and is sharing his learning from the process. Read this to evaluate considerations for implementing Open Badges and get a sneak peak into Openness in Education in general.
This research paper follows 100 students taking an extra-curricular programming course, evaluated on both technical programming skills and soft skills such as communication, collaboration and problem solving, deemed as necessary for being a good programmer by professional peers evaluation. Read this to gain insights on: How Open Badges could be used for grading both soft skills and hard skills What is the necessary course design foundations to enable successful implementation of Open Badge?
A short report of case study conducted by Federal Job Recruitment agency Selor, working with Open Badges to evaluate hard and soft skills among diverse audiences, in effort to narrow gap to the labour market. As part of the project’s effort, a European sub-initiative aligning badges taxonomy has been launched.
The article reviews literature on the impact of Open Digital Badges on learners in higher education. It explores educators’ expectations towards Badges, lists the benefits to educators and suggests ways of fortifying the effectiveness of learning with Badges through a practice of goal setting theory. The article points to the lack of common knowledge/skill taxonomy in Higher Education, and the difficulty it creates in establishing a productive badge-supported learning environment. It presents suggestions for development of Badge Categories, Pre , during and post-learning interaction with Open Badges to ease choice of learning paths, and use of Open Badges as disruptive technology. Read this article to: Understand the role of Open Badges in education Gather useful tips for implementation of layered Open Badges to increase motivation and achievements
This highly recommended report presents case studies collected after five years of experimenting with Open Badges (true to 2016). It also includes a brief overview of free and open resources available through Mozilla’s Web literacy map badging program and Digital contributions on behalf of the Open Badge Network. Read this if you are interested in; Promising best practices through case study Considerations for badge program designs in different educational and labor market contexts Research on open credentialing systems to date of report (2016).
Concise links list of Open Badges platforms, with correlating cross-references to review when making decision on platform to use.
This presentation focuses on the changing skills needs of the international labour market in view of current and developing education options. It outlines reasons for cultivating a culture of lifelong learning and specifies ways in which Open Badges could enable that transition. It presents case studies of successful micro credentials implementation at a number of education providers in the US, Australia and Africa, NGOs, large and small commercial companies. This presentation is valuable for: Understanding the big picture behind Open Badges – how it can play a role in shaping our readiness for tomorrow’s global economy Getting close look into Case Studies of implementation of Open Badges in educational institutions, NGOs and commercial companies
This article takes an example of digital / IT competence and examines the challenges involved in accurately reflecting the competencies needed for badge attainment and the issues in relating these skills to established assessment frameworks within the IT Industry. This article highlights the issue of alignment which applies to badge attainment in all areas of vocational and “soft skills” assessment.
An article examining the effects of awarding open digital badges for successful completion of open online courses – Badged Open Courses. The research argues that badged open courses, in addition to building students’ confidence and increasing motivation, can also generate revenue by either retaining or converting students to formal (paid) courses.
Recognizing competencies vs. completion vs. participation: Ideal roles for web-enabled digital badges
This study examines the status of 30 funded badge systems in the years following the Design Principles Documentation project – whether the badge systems were suspended, existing or thriving. The authors coded the systems according to the forms of learning and assessment which they incorporated, and the authors discuss how the learning theories behind badge systems can affect their success and durability.
The article reviews vocational Open Badges implementation among employers and lists pros from their experiences with the Open Badges system. It points out the lack of common competence framework and open skills taxonomy as the key issues hindering development of Open Badges as driving qualifications force in the labor market.
This paper evaluates the success of using digital open badges to encourage student participation and to increase motivation on an undergraduate engineering study. Whilst the study takes place within a formal education environment, the use of badges focuses on non-academic elements of the course. The findings from the case study indicate that badges may have a positive influence on student engagement and feedback from stakeholders suggest that digital open badges may enhance employability for graduates by highlighting personal qualities and strengths.