Samuel Abramovich, Christian Schunn, and Ross Mitsuo Higashi have published a new article about learner motivation and badges at Educational Technology Research and Development:
Abstract: Educational Badges are touted as an alternative assessment that can increase learner motivation. We considered two distinct models for educational badges; merit badges and videogame achievements. To begin unpacking the relationship between badges and motivation, we conducted a study using badges within an intelligent-tutor system for teaching applied mathematics to middle-school students. Our ﬁndings indicate that badge earning could be driven by learner motivations and that systems with badges could have a positive
effect on critical learner motivations. However, badge acquisition patterns were different across learners with different levels of prior knowledge. Different badge types also affected different learners motivation. Additionally, we believe that our ﬁndings are compatible with the research ﬁnding that extrinsic motivators have a negative inﬂuence on learning. The implication for educational badge designers is that they must consider the ability and motivations of learners when choosing what badges to include in their curricula. We believe our ﬁndings exist as one piece of the large research base needed to understand educational badges.