What are Badges?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for informal learning in the form of micro-credits. A key aspect of gamification is to build in easy to reach incentives, and badges are an simple way to bring that idea to learning. The concept behind badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. Badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Badges can give recognition to pupils as a part of formative assessment. One use is to give one for each step towards an ultimate goal. That way you can increase motivation and give the user a sense of mastery. - jostein.kvisteroy jostein.kvisteroy
  • I am uncertain on how this ties in with Norwegian School Culture. Although we do give students credit for achievements, there is a strong reluctancy towards displaying this. However, if the students can use the credits to move on to next level, like one does in gaming, I'm sure it can have great impact. - ingunn.kjol.wiig ingunn.kjol.wiig Sep 22, 2013
  • I think badges could be very useful when creating individual learning plans. They could work both as documentation and inspiration for students. - ingunn.kjol.wiig ingunn.kjol.wiig Sep 22, 2013
  • It supports and motivates learners to perform in their process of learning. - ola.erstad ola.erstad Sep 28, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • It is important to recognize the particular Norwegian attitude towards giving and receiving rewards, which I think differ significantly from i.e. the American culture for the same to implement badges successfully in our schools. Norwegian teachers and parents are in general against differentiation of young students, believing that they are better served by creating an environment where everyone is "equal". Badges must not be given as rewards in competition between students, but only as rewards when the students compete against themselves. - ingunn.kjol.wiig ingunn.kjol.wiig Sep 22, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on Norwegian K-12 education?

  • Any help to give pupils a sense of achievement and mastery in mathematics is welcome. 30% of pupils receive the grade 1 or 2 (E and D) on final exams after 10th grade. And is an important factor in the large number of drop-outs. - jostein.kvisteroy jostein.kvisteroy Sep 20, 2013
  • I think giving micro credits or badges to student can be highly motivational if it's done the right way. - ingunn.kjol.wiig ingunn.kjol.wiig Sep 22, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.