What is a digital badge?
A digital badge is a visual way to demonstrate learning--a relevant image, accompanied by information about the issuing organization, the recipient, and evidence of learned content. Badges can be part of a series, to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge scaffolding. They can be displayed online on social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter, in e-mail signatures and forum avatars, on digital portfolios and CVs, and on learning platforms like Chrome Warrior. Badges are an accessible way to to share credentials for acquired skills that may otherwise go undocumented or unmeasured. The New York Times describes digital badges as "portals that lead to large amounts of information about what their bearers know and can do. They are also being used to improve education itself, by borrowing techniques from video games that keep users playing, until they advance to the next level."
Benefits of badging
According to a 2013 study on digital badges in education, the three major affordances of badging for learners are “motivation, recognition and credentialing, and evidence of achievement.”
Badges provide an extrinsic reward for intrinsic motivation. While a badge is not a tangible prize for achievement, it can represent an otherwise unrecognized accomplishment--and provides a goal to work towards. Badging can also motivate through friendly competition, especially when coupled with other gamified learning strategies, like points systems and leaderboards.
Much like real-world military or scouting badges, digital badges signify rank and achievement. The more you accomplished throughout your career, the more badges you'll collect. With digital badges, it's possible to become a "decorated professional" in virtually any field.
Badging also provides a visual language that communicates these professional learning milestones. Rather than quantifying every lesson you've completed in your portfolio (ie. "I spent 100 hours with 3 different apps learning these 4 different skills"), you can simply display your digital badges. This allows colleagues and potential employees to access this metadata, or evidence, about your learned skills. The legitimacy and value of digital badges will likely continue to grow each year, as new research is conducted, and badging systems become standardized.
Chrome Warrior & digital badges
The Chrome Warrior platform supports any type of badging, and allows players to display their badges on leaderboards. By early 2017, we will be adding open badging to our platform. “Open Badges are verifiable, portable digital badges with embedded metadata about skills and achievements.”
Essentially, open badging expands and standardizes badge sharing by providing detailed information about recipients’ skills and learning. In addition to offering digital badges on our platform, we've also worked with some of our partner organizations to bring digital badges to conference attendees:
Badges and gamification
Chrome Warrior recently partnered with the Global Education Conference to gamify their learning experience. As part of the game, participants who earned over 300 points were awarded a "GEC Connect Champion" badge, which demonstrates that they attended and actively participated in the event.
We also partnered with Fall CUE in October to make the conference even more engaging and collaborative by developing three game pathways and digital badges for their event: CUE STEAMpunk, CUE rockstar, and Fall CUE Social Media Mastery.
To learn more about digital badges and their implementation, check out “Badges: A New Measure of Professional Development” and “Show Me Your Badge.” For more information on open badges, visit https://openbadges.org/