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Beaming in to #oltbadgeforum14 from UoW. The potential of #openbadges in higher education.

Curate, Credential & Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence

#oltbadgeforum14 - Publishing before we start so you can follow.


9.45 – 10.00
Welcome to the virtual participants and host moderators at each virtual site 
10.00 – 10.20
Opening: Professor Beverley Oliver, DVC(E) Deakin University
10.20 – 11.20 
International Thought Leaders
11.20 – 11.40
Morning Tea: Table Discussion
11.40 – 12.40
National Thought Leaders
12.40 – 1.30
Lunch: Table Discussion
1.30 – 2.30
2.30 – 3.30
Professional perspectives
3.30 – 4.00       
Panel and Closing Remarks

(Thought leaders: Dan Hickey, Indiana University; Nan L Travers, Empire State College; David Gibson, Curtin University; Michael Evans, Dartmouth; Joanna Normoyle, UC Davis; Janet Strivens, Centre for Recording Achievement; Allyn Radford, DeakinDigital.)

Key concept: the importance of evidence - we can only assess learning, skills etc through evidence provided. 

Key Words:  Students, Brand, Value (to earner to audience), Evidence, Credentialing, Work, Design, Ecosystems, Complimentary to Assessment, Assessment, Flexibility, Appropriateness.

Other interesting points from the day (Check back later, post should be finalised by 4pm)

Opening: Professor Beverley Oliver, DVC(E) Deakin University

A form of big badge is already issued through degrees, what a person can do and how they can use the knowledge they have acquired. Marks grades and credits are a way of having a quick look at someones performance/ability.

Portfolios (creation and curation of learning and experience) and Micro credentials (warrant learning, motivate and engage).

Evidence from assessment, evidence from experiences: How can students evidence these, how can we test and measure these? Some of these are very difficult to test for, but students can show evidence, this is what Deakin (and others) are trying to do.

Deakin provides a service, , where students can articulate what they are about and what they have learned that might catch the attention of potential employers. (essentially supporting students to create a digital CV introduction that are becoming common on youtube).

See - Assuring graduate capabilities - for a way in which outcomes might be warranted using badges. (

Challenges: When a Deakin insignia is applied to a badge the badge carries significance and meaning - the same way a degree does.

OLT project tries to: Connect (national and international educators), Research (perceptions, implications), Provide (case studies, resources, etc), Offer (online professional development in digital credentialing), Host (a national forum showcasing thought leaders in digital credentialing)

Thought Leader: Dan Hickey

Has setup a database documenting a number of badges projects. Design principles documentation project:

The interesting thing about badges is that they can can link through to evidence, and that evidence can link through to even more evidence and details about how and what.

Main Mozilla developers moved over to the Badge Alliance.

UC Davis building an entire program with Badges and ePortfolios. Learner Driven Badges. 

Badges initially were a disruptive technology, because at the time assessment systems didn’t capture the evidence students were generating.  The challenge was to gather up this knowledge using information systems before it evaporated. The systems try to capture the narrative around a learning experience, not just an artefact or output, they are just formal enough to be recognisable and transportable from place to place.

Digital badges contain information - but you don’t truly understand this until you try to design a badge. Badges circulate in social networks and the information contained begins to matter a lot more. Badges are part of a broader education ecosystem, it’s not just about the badge. Ribbons and trophies also form part of this ecosystem. Less successful projects gave badges as an overlay to other recognition/evidence systems or redundantly.

Badges can work but not everywhere and not overtime. Some projects succeed in building a badge system, but fail to build a successful badge ecosystem where badges work for all the players in that system.

In terms of project timeframes one successful project took up to 2 years, after 1 year funding.

Theoretical underpinnings: credentialing theory, human capital theory, signalling theory, screening theory, over justification effect, scaffolding. 

Nan Travers

Starting with philosophical underpinnings of assessment. 

Student versus Institutional Assessment responsibilities:

Reflect -> self assess -> articulate learning.

Recognise -> Assess -> credential learning.

Lifelong and life-wide learning - what is learning?

Prior learning + emergent learning = convergent learning + future learning + relational learning. So when we assess learning we have to realise we can’t separate out any element of the equation, it’s all tied together.

Students come with all kinds of experiences and knowledge, and have different understandings and constructs of concepts and knowledge. 

Developed a Learning Oriented and Evidence-Based Model

We are assessing the evidence - indicators of the learning - the better the evidence the better the indicators of that learning - so need to help students better articulate and communicate the evidence of their learning because that is what we are assessing. Also recognise knowledge from any context/content.

Learning is expressed through evidence - it is the evidence that we assess, evidence provided does not necessarily represent the learning.

Most global learning qualifications frameworks focus on Knowledge, skills and abilities. After analysis there are knowledge engagement and integration of the knowledge (central to Nan’s framework is Knowledge, Engagement and Integration. (Seems to have some parallel with Blooms hierarchy, not just know but apply, etc.) 

Prefers the term micro-credentialing over badging.

Evidence based documented learning - again we are assessing he evidence, we will never really know what somebody knows, but the evidence also needs to show how the learner is engaging and integrating that knowledge.

Nan's team investigating Reverse Badging

This is where the institution works with industry cohorts to validate the badges the institution is awarding, if validated the cohorts award the institution various badges.

David Gibson - Challenge based learning

What is challenge based learning

  • Volkswagon crowd-sources a product plan that engaged 33 million people in China in 2011 - us getting engaged in a process.
  • Majority of people working will be using game-based apps everyday by 2015.
  • Horizon Report - games and gamification are on the rise.
  • Math has Game theory - rules system and trading relationships.
  • Challenge approach allows the learner to guide the process rather than say we are up to week 3 and require everyone to be up to week 3.
Why Challenges
  • want work ready global leaders (effective use of tech to solve problems, etc, etc).
  • Requries higher order/deeper learning, collaboration, critical thinking and this calls for a new way of thinking in teaching and learning.
  • games are effective for concepts and simulating real world.
  • gacification incorporates aspects of games such as rewards, leaderboard, social connectivity and activity.
How are challenges created and badged?
  • Use digital platforms/widgets to create challenges that record learner activity.
  • We can use big data to see what people are capable of doing, stand aside and use the evidence of learning to make a judgement/award badges without having to assess in the traditional sense.
  • Digital authoring/instructional design that incorporates new information system capabilities -e.g. interactivity:
    • transmedia experiece/storyboard
    • experience-first learning (learn anywhere, ease of use e.g. progress saved automatically, personal connections with the learning/device/activity)
    • interactions versus text
    • interdisciplinary research
    • play testing
    • drafts & itertions
    • quality check
    • iterate
    • then cycle - your never done kind of process
    • Student "Challenge is a much more dynamic environment"
    • 250% increase in module completions
    • Smaller chunks/modules than before.
    See examples:
    • Curtin Leadership Centre
      • Self-guided online experience in Leadership
      • reaching 25,000 students
      • bedged levels of achievement acess twelve modules introduce the social change leadership module
      • students can choose path to some extent.
      • Blended model based on learner time scale - people come in when they want, get what they want rather than operate on one central time scale.
    • Career development
      • soon have examples in the academic curriculum
    • The AHEAD game
      • AIM: raising aspirations to build confidence to attend university
      • TARGET: rural, Indigenous.
    • Balance of the planet
      • international, developing sustainable development goals and plans
      • winners receive badges, awards and letters of recommendation
    Badging policy document has been prepared for review by the university.

    Research frontiers:
    • Transmedia storytelling
    • Biosensors to gather data for making next learning/challenge recommendations.
    • VR technology to assess decision making etc
    • Challenge based learning sparks reward processes (production of dopamine) in the brain and enhances learning.

    Allyn Radford - DigitalDeakin - a focus on career development.

    Digital Deakin driven by:
    • Democatisation of knowledge and avilability of knowledge anywhere anytime
    • Push toward granular leardning - better alignment with transferrable workforce skills.
    • Shift from credit hour - Time doesn't equal learning - credit hour was never intended to result in this - it was used in funding models not meant for learning models.
    • Digital disruption is about changing the business model.
    • Systemic pressures on traditional models - Lack of affordability, scalability, unment demand esp in emerging economies
    • student loan scheme debts in US exceed 1.3 trillion, 30 billion in AUS.
    In response models forming are:
    • partnership models
    • peer to peer models
    • models of RPL Prior Learning Assessment and recognition 
    • etc.
    What can be done?

    • Through DeakinDigital students are credentialed for all graduate attributes capabilities. Requiring capability to be shown allows strengths and areas that need work to be shown and responded to.
      • communication (transferable)
      • digital literacy (transferable)
      • critical thinking (transferable)
      • problem solcing (transferable)
      • self-management (transferable)
      • teamwork (transferable)
      • global citizenship (transferable)
      • dsicipline specific knowledge and capabilities (locked to a focus in a point in time)
    • We are about: Innovation in assessment and recognition of professional practice.
      • Traditional models are knowledge driven - limited number of tools focused on what students know and to a limited extent wha they can do but not in a professional context.
      • Revenue is not tied to time-served
      • We have a robust understnadning of workforce capability
      • Have alignment to recognised qualifcations and skills frameworks
      • We embed support for work integrated learning.
    • Credentials are created for the various degree levels aligned with AQF requirements
      • reviewed by Prof David Boud
      • will have a multidimentional view of someone in terms of capability (improving the quality, validity and reliability of evidence).
    Aiming to shorten the time it takes for graduates to become productive.

    The credentials require experience - a Masters degree was always meant to signify MASTERY which requires experience. (ed. My own masters was undertaken while I was working and aligned with my roles, so I was able to combine theory and practice in a way not possible if I wasn't working, or undertaking a post grad course not aligned with my work).

    Michael Evans

    The value of a badge is only equal to the value to students - but only problem is students don't necessarily know what is valuable to them and neither do we. So we have to try hard to foresee what will be valuable, working with students and employers, professions etc. Suggestions:

    • Align motivations with work
    • reconsider evidence links (maybe we don't want evidence created as a student to be persistent, or at least leave it under the control of the student)
    • certify achievements rather than characteristics (endorse what they did not who they are - e.g. attending fire fighting training does not equal being a fire fighter)
    • pay attention to what students do (or not) with their badges. (to find out what they think is important. E.g. Sometimes students like collecting badges for motivation, etc, but not exposing them publicly.
    The goal is badging for students, not students for badging. 
    This includes students retaining control over access to their badges 
    (and their portfolios of evidence).

    Next steps
    • Community standards and software for Open Badge Exchange (a public shared history of transactions to enable transparent valuation) - ie are our badges being recognised for "things/stuff/positions" etc by other people? Are they valuable and are we doing the right thing by our students?
    • Connections among badgers
    • RPL using badges
    • wanting advanced standing based on badges 
    • etc.
    Make sure badges don't conflict and overlap thereby diluting value - focus on VALUE.

    Offer badges that build your brand and focus on people like about your brand - e.g. Leadership in the sense of bringing the whole team up through collaboration - something Dartmouth students are known for.


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