Earlier this month there was a flurry about badges. “Who needs a university anymore?” asked David Wiley, a Brigham Young University professor and open education resource (OER) advocate in a NYTime piece. The article noted free courses at Stanford and MIT where “the courses will be free, but the testing—and the credential—will have a price tag.”
I’m bullish about badges and job certification like Jobs for the Future Credentials that Work and just-in-time job training like the online program just launched by GeneralAssemb.ly. But I think they’ll be even bigger in K-12.
Audrey Watters reviewed the Badges for Lifelong Learning awards at DML12 earlier this month—a MacArthur funded celebration of informal learning. Henry Jenkins voice some skepticism about badgemania and I guess I agree about the anyone-can-earn-a- badge-from-anyone-for-anything explosion of badges.
I get the Christensen’s non-consumption thesis and starting in the informal space, but my interest in badges remains in the heart of K-12 education and the Common Core State Standards.
We need a great Common Core-aligned merit badge system that motivates and recognizes achievement. It should be free and open. Badges should be awarded based on multiple forms of assessment. Badges should be linked to multiple forms of instruction.
I’ve argued that while there are 10 elements of emerging learning ecosystems, achievement recognition systems (badges and other data visualization strategies) and recommendation engines will be the two critical components that will anchor the ecosystems.
Here’s my point—folks are treating badges as peripheral and I think they (and related achievement recognition systems) will be core to the shift to student-centered and competency-based learning. Specifically,
- they will personalize learning by guide choices on what to learn, how to learn, and how to demonstrate learning
- they will motivate accelerated learning by recognizing achievement
- they will simplify the management of competency-based environments
Badges will be big.
For more, see:
- Free Post-Sec Will Put the Breaks Spiraling Costs
- HigherEd Innovation: Reengineer or Replace?
- The Other HigherEd: P2PU