Value of badges

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 by Mark DuBois Latest activity: Aug 21, 2014

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I am using Moodle 2.5 and note that one can now include badges as part of the environment. These tie to the Mozilla Open Badge project. I am curious who is using badges in their curriculum and how well they are received. Obviously, we all receive badges as part of the Education Exchange.

I am planning to incorporate these in my fall classes. I am using Illustrator and Photoshop to create the badge (and properly size it) and Moodle to distribute them.

I do realize that one must have a good understanding of the psychology/ motivation behind offering students a badge for completing a given task. That being said, I am curious as to how this is being pursued by others (and what the results have been).

Best,
Mark

Comments (14)

AJ Barse

Posted on Aug 20, 2014 6:10 PM - Permalink

This is something our institution is looking into as well. We are using Instructure's Canvas LMS, and evaluating their LTI's that implement Badges. What we are looking at digital badging for is a form of certification for unconventional or extracurricular course work. For instance, our Student Tech Center does workshops for the Creative Suite, it would be nice to be able to provide a digital badge that can follow the student (through our LMS) from class to class letting their instructors know what technologies they are "certified" in.

ellen flaherty

Posted on Apr 25, 2014 12:56 AM - Permalink

Interesting piece on one educators experience with creating a successful PD, badging, and tech integration system and why and how it worked. I especially love that she gave it all away ala Mike Skocko and his gamification curriculum.

Melissa Jones

Posted on Dec 17, 2013 11:38 PM - Permalink

I'm interested in how we can make badges useful for professional development.

Lynne Kesselman

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 1:34 AM - Permalink

Hi Melissa,

Having a way to view your EdEx profile and badges in a more condensed format would be helpful. I recently needed to "show off" my badges, and it would have been very great to see them all on one screen for a screen print (instead of scrolling down the page.

Colin Byers

Posted on Dec 17, 2013 3:09 AM - Permalink

We've recently updated to the latest build of Moodle and I too will be creating badges, for both staff and students. I think the incentive can work for all users! Using illustrator and ps for my badge builds. However, I am still considering what categories to have them for... any suggestions?

Sue Bell

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 12:22 AM - Permalink

I will be interested in following this thread as well. I hear a lot about badges in my role and among the staff on my team there are those who are really excited and motivated by them, and those who just can't figure out what all the fuss is about. I have to admit to being one of the ones who just doesn't find badges particularly exciting. That said, one of my younger colleagues will do outrageous things to earn another badge on her workout app, which she then shares with all of the other folks she has convince to use the same app. I don't know if it is a generational thing or a question of where the individual's locus of control resides. I tend to be very focused on opinions of others, where as she is very self defined. I'm not sure if my musings add anything to the discussion, but it is certainly something I am interested in learning more about as we try to find ways to engage our teachers in professional learning opportunities.

Jody Campbell

Posted on Aug 21, 2014 12:02 AM - Permalink

I think badges are motivational, right? They come with a since of accomplishment, you work towards a goal and once you reach that goal you get a prize. Works for me even if they have no other value.

Derick Lourens

Posted on Aug 12, 2013 5:27 AM - Permalink

This is an interesting issue, and I will keep following this thread. I am also interested in motivating my students in a positive way, e.g. bookstore vouchers, no homework days, free time in the classroom...

The idea of badges sounds great. I will also do some research and let you know what I come up with.

Mark DuBois

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 4:20 PM - Permalink

Hi Mike:

Many thanks for the feedback (and varied views). I really appreciate your comments. I had the chance to discuss this very topic with Andy at the AEL Summer Institute. As you may suspect, I am taking baby steps, but I think there is some merit to pursuing. I will definitely keep this discussion up to date with any feedback received from students.

Yes, the badges must have perceived value. I liken them to the ones received in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts (at least I think they still offer them). One gets the behaviors one rewards. At least this is something I have observed in business. I definitely want to keep this discussion going and am keen to learn what others think as well.

Best always,
Mark

Mike Skocko

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 4:29 PM - Permalink

As the father of a Girl Scout currently working toward her Gold Award, I can assure you the Scouts still use badges.

As for the varied views, hey, I have to give all the voices in my head a chance to speak or they'll never shut up! ;)

Edit: I just noticed: ...but I think there is some merit to pursuing. You punster!

Mike Skocko

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 11:42 PM - Permalink

Hey Mark,

Fellow AEL, Andy Phelps from RIT, is a wealth of information regarding the psychology and research surrounding badges in edu. He's registered on the AEE, but not active. (You know how to get hold of him.)

From what I understand, badges are best used when there's meaning, significance, and fun attached to them. You've got to tap intrinsic motivation and never, ever tie them to grades or other extrinsic levers.

The problem with badges here on the AEE is that they really serve no purpose. A little fun reward or perk attached to certain badges, number of badges, or specific assortment of badges might spice things up a bit and promote deeper engagement. (That's what you want, right?) But nothing big or you cross the line from fun to material goods -- from fundamentally intrinsic rewards to definite extrinsic motivation.

The line between the two gets fuzzy.

We'll be giving badges and achievements a go this year and the only experience I have to compare it with is the "Gold" awarded last year for mastering material. Students used their gold for silly things like homework passes, controlling my playlist in class, and the right to play online games for a day. I did, however, also "sell" prints for gold. (Students bought the right to print original work on our Epson 9880.) Did that cross the line? (I personally don't think so, but it seems to approach it.)

If Adobe gave away little gadgets or T-shirts or other bling for badges, that would be cool and probably spur engagement. But the computers and tablets and software need to stay out of it. The research is counter-intuitive but pretty darn conclusive.

Does that make sense?

I'm interested to hear what you and others think.

Mark DuBois

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 2:12 PM - Permalink

Aaron - thanks for the feedback. Yes, I reviewed Mike's discussion. I should have included a link to that. Thanks for doing so. My hope is to focus on the issue of badges themselves in the discussion thread.

For what it is worth, I have already received a positive comment from a former student (I posted a note about this on my weblog).

Mike Skocko

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 12:18 AM - Permalink

Mark,

After reviewing the post on your weblog and thinking about your question in terms of Mozilla's Open Badges Project, I'm having commenter's remorse about the info in my entry ^ above yours.

If I may rebut myself... ;)

The Open Badges Project seems to be tied directly to both intrinsic AND extrinsic motivators. It's also, I believe, a precursor to the legitimization of Open Ed and MOOCs as an acceptable alternative to traditional education pathways.

I know you work in higher ed but I also know you have keen insights into current tech trends as well as intimate knowledge of the slings and arrows of the American university system.

I wonder. Might you be plotting to pioneer a pathway to prosperity for the masses? If so, your secret, good sir, is safe with me.

And with the 96,083 other members of the Secret Society of the Adobe Education Exchange whom I have contacted personally and sworn to secrecy.

Carry on.

Aaron Roberts

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 9:33 AM - Permalink

There seems to be a lot of plugins for different CMS's out there that use Mozilla's OBI. I'm going to tackle badges maybe half way through this year. Too much going on to do it at the beginning of the year. I know there are a number of resources here on the Exchange. I'm sure you've seen Mike Skocko's resource HERE. Lots of information! Good luck, I'm interested to see what you come up with.