In the quote by Clarence Fisher in the Personal Learning Networks blog post, I was struck by the discussion that the students were forming their own personal learning networks without a lot of work from the instructor. He says, “The connections have had very little to do with me. I’ve provided access, direction, and time, but little else.” This is what I would like to encourage and have been trying to instill in my students. I didn’t have a name for it before, but now I want to describe developing their own personal learning networks. Many students tend to do this on their own, finding websites and videos that help them in their learning. But now I want to frame it as a crucial part of their education and encourage all students to do this, not just those that take the initiative on their own.
In the reading, ‘Badges’ Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas, I obviously worry about how these badges are being monitored in that some may not be as useful as they claim. I think there are important uses for these types of certifications, but it should be up to an employer to decide if they will recognize a badge. Isn’t the point of the educational system to allow graduates to find appropriate employment? In many professions, continuing education credits must be earned at regular increments to maintain licenses or certifications. Many of these continuing education programs have already gone online, but there needs to be accreditation for the programs and the organizations offering the credential. As an employer, I wouldn’t want to have to figure out if badges that applicants claimed to have were legitimate. How is it any different then listing skills acquired from previous positions? Back when I was job hunting, I would list additional training that I received through seminars and workshops. So, between the use of continuing education credits and training received through other means, it seems as though the new system of badges is just a slightly different take on methods of learning that were already out there. In terms of lifelong learning, I think it is a real plus, but must be monitored in some way so that employers value applicants who obtain this type of training.