Week 10 post – Badges and Learning

I think badges are an awesome way to encourage to dig deeper into the context of their learning and at the same time it rewards students for picking up skills that might not be so obvious to the specific course.
Recently I have been hearing so much about the importance of “soft skills” but also the difficulty in defining and assessing them. To me, badges seem to be the answer to this.
There is a lot to think about considering how new this concept is to education. The genuineness of the badges could be called into question, as could the reason for the achievement. But couldn’t that be said for education of any kind?
Like Sheryl Grant stated in her article on the Digital Media and Learning competition blog, “You can never ensure that any system will be perfect until humans become perfect.”


Within our unit is Educational Gaming Commons and they have done a ton of research into badges and I particularly like how they explain the need:

“A number of factors are paving the way for the rise of the badge. Financial pressures are encouraging more and more academic institutions to take a long hard look at their programs to make sure that students are learning what they say there are. Those same financial pressures are affecting our students, pushing people to look for opportunities to to learn without crushing their savings or incurring extensive debt. And with the support of technology, that means a new era of learning through MOOCs and open educational resources, or the less formal YouTube videos, podcasts, or communities of practice. Add in gamification, the rise of learning analytics, and students perpetually looking for opportunities to  and you’ve created a climate in need of exactly what the digital badges brings to the table. What do individuals know? This is the question badges are here to solve.”

I think this is a giant step towards reorganizing and rethinking education.

1 thought on “Week 10 post – Badges and Learning

  1. Justin Montgomery

    “We won’t hire him,” said Julia, member of the HR department. “Why not? He has a 4.0 GPA from Yale!” exclaimed her colleague. Julia calmly and matter-of-factly replied, “He showed no soft skills in the interview.” This scenario happens. For example, at a leading engineering pharmaceutical company, applicants had stellar college transcripts, but none of them could think innovatively or demonstrate the soft skill of “tinkering”. HR did not award the position to this kind of “engineer”.

    Perhaps these students didn’t know any better. Maybe they thought that the all-encompassing sticker of a college diploma would be all they needed to land their dream job. Nope. They thought wrong. If there was a sanctioned badge system, on the other hand, maybe they would be aware of those finer skills. Seeing the badges for “Tinkering”, “Leadership”, or “Self Starter” could have alterted them.

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