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Advancing Learning 2014: Badges in Higher Education

Advancing Learning 2014: Badges in Higher Education

I pulled together some additional resources for folks attending the Advancing Learning 2014 conference at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. To make it easy for people to dig deeper into some of the resources I mention during my presentation, I've pulled them together and posted them here. Feel free to post any question, comments, or additional resources related to badges in higher ed. 


General Resources

Grant, S. & Shawgo, K.E. (2013). Digital Badges: An Annotated Research Bibliography

Digital Badges on
HASTAC administered the Badges for Lifelong Learning movement, and this Digital Badges page represents the work we did with the 30 Badges for Lifelong Learning projects funded to build some of the first badge systems for learning. Anyone can join the Badges for Learning Research group, or the Badges in Higher Education group. We’ve also put together 20 + webinars on topics related to badges.

Design Principles Documentation (DPD) Project: 
The Design Principles Documentation Project tracked the badge system development of ~30 winners of the Badges for Lifelong Learning competition. A team of researchers followed each project’s intended practices to see how they were enacted and formalized for continued operation after the grant period. Four types of badge system functions were identified: recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning. General design principles in each category are also identified. (In particular, take a look at the card deck -- very helpful for anyone designing the badge system.)

The Reconnect Learning Summit 2014: 
Reconnect Learning is an outgrowth of efforts to research and support the growing badge ecosystem. From the 2011 launch of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition to the creation of Mozilla’s Open Badges platform, work around badging has intensified in recent years. Led by MacArthur, HASTAC and Mozilla, Reconnect Learning is designed to support and encourage conversation, innovation, research, design and implementation of digital badging. (There are some helpful resources on this site)

Join live conversations about badges:

Badge Alliance: 
This is a recently formed “network of organizations and individuals building and enhancing an open badging ecosystem” that involves working groups formed to focus on specific topics. Higher ed is one of the groups, as is workforce development, acceptance by employers, and research. It’s free to join this group.

Badges for Learning Research
This is a group of people interested in research in, on, and around badges for learning. This is a good place to keep up with interested questions about badges, as well as active badge research. HASTAC also administered several badge research competitions, and the five winning proposals are shared here. Anyone can join.

Badges in Higher Education
This is a group of people interested specifically in topics related to badges in higher education. Anyone can join.

Mozilla’s Open Badges
Really active, dynamic weekly community calls that focus on both badge system design and general topics. There is also an Open Badges Google group, and a dev group. Anyone can join. 

Reports & Articles:

The Potential and Value of Using Digital Badges for Adult Learners. American Institutes of Research. July 16, 2013.

Expanding Education and Workforce Opportunities Through Digital Badges. Alliance for Excellent Education. August 28, 2013.

Open Badges for Higher Education. Acclaim. Pearson’s fairly decent overview of badges in higher education.

How Badges Really Work in Higher Ed -- this is an article published in Campus Technology, and highlights some of the challenges involved in implementing badge systems.

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials is a MOOC that is available indefinitely. It's produced by Blackboard and WCET. I'm currently getting an error message when I try to access the MOOC, but I emailed colleagues affiliated with site and they are working to resolve the problem. Hopefully it will be up and running soon.

Digital Badges in Higher Ed: An Overview is a white paper written by Brett Bixler and Ken Layng at Penn State University.

Badge System Design Tools

Platforms Issuing Badges
This is a helpful spreadsheet that lists all the platforms issuing badges, including features.

Badge System Design Template
A useful tool developed by Carla Casilli at Mozilla (now Badge Alliance), this template will help designers start thinking through some of the prompts that need to be answered before building the system.

Design Principles Documentation card deck
These cards were designed by Nate Otto of the DPD project, and include the ~40 design principles that emerged from research on the Badges for Lifelong Learning projects. Another great tool for organizations in the early stages of badge system design.

Badge Systems in Higher Education

University of California-Davis badge system:

Randall, D., Harrison, B., & West, R. (2013). Giving credit where credit is due: Designing open badges for a technology integration course. TechTrends. November/December 2013. Vol57:6. 88-95. Retrieved May 22, 2104:




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