Digital badges have been appearing in the news recently and you may have become curious. Educause says they are: "digital tokens that appear as icons or logos on a web page or other online venue". They can offer learners of all ages a new way to gather evidence of learning achievements. Edudemic compares digital badges to the badges of recognition that scouts and guides accumulate on their uniforms. We all like being recognised for our learning achievements, yet the existing formal systems only recognise a limited range of courses (such as completed degrees).
A simple way to look at it is - you decide to go to an online learning site to acquire a new skill. Once you have completed the course (which may take a few minutes or hours in the case of a short course), you do an online assessment and then get a digital badge, which you save in your collection. Mozilla provides a digital backpack where you can save your digital badges. You can then show your badges to others by sending them a link or publishing the badges on your website or social media site.
Digital badges seem to be an addition to a resume or curriculum vitae, rather than a replacement of anything. Many companies might not yet know what digital badges are or understand their value. That said, they provide a new way to recognise your learning achievements in a more comprehensive way.
To give digital badges a try, go to http://openbadges.org/earn/ to setup your own digital backpack. There is a quiz on the webpage that will earn you your first badge, if you answer the questions correctly. Once you have created your backpack, you can look for places where you can study online and earn badges at: http://openbadges.org/participating-issuers/. Many issuers of badges do this for free, so this may be a productive way to spend a few hours of leisure time! If you are in an institution that offers education, you may be interested in looking at how to issue badges to your clients at http://openbadges.org/issue/.
No one can be sure how this system will look in five years from now, but it could be the difference between getting that job or just assist in presenting your skills in a more organised way. Good luck with collecting badges!
Digital Badges: New Report From Alliance and Mozilla Examines How Digital Badges Can Expand Education and Workforce Opportunities:
BadgeOS is a powerful free plugin to WordPress that lets you easily create achievements and issue sharable badges as your users succeed:
Submitted on 25 February 2014. First published on AfricaEducation.org.