Open Badges: Badges for Learning?

I have only taken one certified or official course since I completed my undergraduate degree in 1996, and that was the PG Cert in 2010. Everything else I have done I have done on my own because I (a) wanted to, (b) needed to. But I have nothing to show for it other then the knowledge and experience it has helped me achieve – but how can I show colleagues or employers this knowledge? Why, ‘Open Badges’ is how!

I wonder how many badges I could be displaying about now if Open Badges were around when I started? I bet there are a few!

It wasn’t until I worked through Doug’s presentation below (given to the eAssessment Conference 2012 last week) that I realised just how clever these badges are: they’re images with metadata hard-coded into them including name, description, and details of the issuer (date, origin, name, organisation, etc) as well as the recipient (so you can’t nick someone else’s and pass it off as your own achievement!) and expiry date (!).

Open Badges are (adapted from Doug’s presentation above):
  • visual representations of achievements, learning, skills, interests, competencies – anything you want the badge to represent,
  • a complement to traditional education ‘certification’,
  • capable of accommodating formal or informal pathway for learning,
  • representative of hard & soft skills, peer assessment, and ‘stakable lifelong learning’,
  • snapshots of learning wherever or however it occurred,
  • ‘stealth assessment’!

I like Doug’s work and agree that (on slide 17/18 above) open badges are not an “either/or” decision when considering degrees, certificates, or diplomas, but “both/and”.

Open Badges: Doug Belshaw

If you’re at all interested on how we “get there” (“there” is the open badges displayed, for example, on a LinkedIn profile – above) then check out slide 23 for an excellent graphical representation of the ‘open badge infrastructure’.

I for one would love to be able to show my learning experiences in this way, and will be keeping an active eye on the developments of Open Badges (