What are Badges/Microcredit?

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.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • (Originally posted in Wearables.) Seems valuable to have instant access to micro-credentials/competencies that "unlock" services or capabilities for certain users. We currently have actual locks on power tools in a library maker lab or certain limits on pro-level video equipment available for limited checkout. Badging systems could also provide demonstration of completed safety or proficiency training opening access. - dicksonk dicksonk Apr 9, 2015
  • - Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 16, 2015 Students learn skills in the library that transcend academic discipline. Demonstrating these skills to a potential employer or to an advisor in a continued program of study could help the student demonstrate his or her ability in information literacy, research, citation, etc.
  • We utilized a badge system in the Hyperlinked Library MOOC - one lesson learned: make the system "opt in!" Some didn't like them, others loved them. - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 18, 2015
  • This is a development in educational technology that will be important in the next 4-5 years. Credentialing via badges or other systems such as the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) will create opportunities for individualized outside of the classroom learning. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015 [Editor's Note: Added here from RQ2.]

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

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • - Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 16, 2015 Badges could provide the library with a marketing opportunity. As colleges and universities and professional fields, like nursing, adopt badges as a way to assess competency of a particular learning goal students will be more aware of the value of a badge. A student could earn a badge for information literacy skills, citation, knowledge of a particular collection, etc.
  • Along the lines of what Jacqueline has written, libraries could use badges within services and spaces as a method of promotion, as a means of encouraging student research skills, or as microcredits for info, data, etc. literacy skills.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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