As part of the Connected Learning MOOC, I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned about digital badges. Most of this learning has been documented here on my blog. I also pieced together a MindMap on Coggle to help me think through this framework. The goal of this blog post is to provide a basic framework to help you understand, develop, and implement an open badge initiative. I propose a sequence of iterative steps as you consider and develop your own badges.
Understand & Define
Please understand that these are only my thoughts about open, digital, or web badges. What I share here I learned from discussions with Doug Belshaw, sitting in (lurking) on the Mozilla Open Badges Google Group and Community Calls. I’ve also worked with some of my graduate students to conduct a lit review on open badges, edit Wikipedia, and develop our own badging system. As you work your way into development of badges, I would consider viewing the following playlist on YouTube.
I would suggest getting started on this journey by researching and reading everything you can about open, digital badges. Read up and see what others are doing…and write your own definition of badges. Please blog about your research, curation, and synthesis of this research.
Identify Your Constructs Think Granularly
While working on my PhD, I spent a lot of time working as a closet psychometrician (stats-minded assessment constructor). In this work we
always needed to identify, and define at a granular level the knowledge, skills, and/or dispositions we were trying to capture in the assessment.
As you develop your badges, I suggest you think deeply about the skills or competencies that you want to highlight with your badges. Clearly define and identify – at a granular level. When you develop, and award badges, your audience will need to easily think about, or consider what your badge is all about. What are the skills or competencies you’re highlighting? Do they meet the qualifications? How can they improve their skills so they can earn your badge?
Build all of the Components
Depending on the badge platform that you’re using, you’ll need to import a couple key components into your badge. You’ll need an image, or graphic. You’ll need a title. The two most important elements (at least to me) are the description and the tags. The description is the granular components of what your badge is awarded for. The tags connect your badge to other global communities, or discussions. Please be clear, distinct, and thoughtful as you include these elements. As always…please blog about your thinking along this process.
Award Badges and Iterate
The final step in the process is to award badges and see what the effects are. Despite the massive amount of time I spent thinking and researching open badges, I still learned a lot from posting and awarding badges. Use feedback from this process to iterate and inform future badge development. You may also use this knowledge to edit and revise the badges you’ve already developed and awarded. Blog about your thinking during this process. Tag your blog posts appropriately and allow the open badging community to learn from your learning.
The video from the Make With Me Hangout on Digital Badges is available below.
Image CC by Threadless.