Thursday, May 13, 2021

New Articles and Chapters about Open Badges

 We got out of the habit of putting up a blog post as new papers got published.  I don't have any grant funding for my work with badges anymore (but thanks for six great years MacFound).  But that has not stopped us from publishing from prior funded research.  References are hotlinked to copies of the papers

Where Badges Work Better

This article reports the follow-up findings from our study of the 30 badge systems that MacArthur funded in 2012.  We followed up two years after their funding was exhausted to determine which systems resulted in a "thriving" badge-based ecosystem.  Most of the constructivist "completion-badge" systems and associationist "competency-badge" systems failed to thrive, many never got past piloting and some never issued any badges.  Turned out that wildly optimistic plans for assessing competency or completion undermined the project.  In contrast, most of the sociocultural "participation-badge" systems were still thriving, in part because they relied on peer assessment and because they assessed social learning rather than individual completion or competency:


Badges in the Assessment BOOC

This chapter describes Google-funded "Big Open Online Course" ("BOOC") which really pushed the limits of open badges, including one of the first examples of "peer endorsement" and "peer promotion." It also showed that our asynchronous model of participatory learning and assessment (PLA) could be used at scale to support highly interactive learning with almost no instructor engagement with open learners:

The Varied Functions of Open Badges

This chapter used the BOOC badges to illustrate how badges to illustrate the range of functions of open badges.  It shows how badges support the shift (a) from measuring achievement to capturing learning. (b) from credentialing graduates to recognizing learning, (c) from compelling achievement to motivating learning, and (d) from accrediting schools and programs to endorsing learning:

This chapter used example badges from sustainable/sustainability education to similarly illustrate these four functions of digital badges.  The badges came from Ilona Buchem's  EU-funded Open Virtual Mobility project and the FAO e-Learning Academy from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.  BTW, the e-Learning Academy features some of the best self-paced open courses I have ever seen.  the assessments are great and you really can't prank them.  If it says the course will take two hours it is really impossible to earn the badges without spending two hours learning (I tried!):

Situative Motivational Principles for Open Badges

Finally, this 2017 chapter presents the situative model of assessment that was first published in Hickey (2003) in the context of open badges.  It is my response to people like Mitch Resnick who claim that open badges will undermine intrinsic motivation.  I agree with him that they will if you use them as meaningless tokens.  So don't do that Mitch!  Instead take advantage of the fact that badges contain meaningful information and can circulate in social networks and gain more meaning, which has consistently been shown to enhance free-choice engagement:

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