I am new to the idea of earning badges online so my commentary and thoughts are basic and not yet well developed. However, I am not new to the idea of earning badges. When I was in the military, I earned badges for jumping out of airplanes and proficiency with a variety of weapons from several countries. It was an icon/graphic that instantly told others about your skills. In that regard, I can see the benefit for earning badges in the educational system.
While I understand the need to display specialized abilities and don’t question the validity of that need, there is another aspect that I question. What is the value in me earning a badge that tells others I am a great listener? Wouldn’t my employer know if I was a good listener by the work I produced at my job? Is this the new version of everyone getting a trophy for doing the intrinsic part of the job that is expected?
ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: Could the badge system be an attempt to graphically display the resume much like how smart phones transitioned from the text-based, menu-driven Blackberry to the graphically-displayed, app-driven iPhone (which looks like badges to me)?