Three Ways Digital Badges are Used in Education

For example, last year Blackboard announced a partnership with Mozilla to support the use of digital badges to promote achievements in courses and within Blackboard Learn™. By utilizing Mozilla’s Open Badges Infrastructure, students can earn Open Badges to indicate the completion of a course or meeting learning milestones set by faculty. Within a course, students can also view and share earned badges and see how much progress they have made toward requirements for earning new ones.

The program provides incentives for students to learn and further engage both inside and outside of the classroom. Their initiative goes far beyond the traditional achievement process by assigning awards for extracurricular activities, philanthropy, study abroad and internships. In addition, students can display their badges in an Open Badge portfolio as well on networking profiles, social media sites and personal web pages.

What is the Potential of Digital Badges?

It is clear that digital badges have the potential to replace or enhance outdated, traditional ways of measuring and communicating students’ skills and knowledge. For example, resumes are often more about writing skills than professional abilities, interviews are an important skill but aren’t related to your job, pre-employment tests may not accurately reflect skills due to nervousness, and personal recommendations may reflect the selling skills of the recommender rather than the skills of the candidate.

In order to become mainstream in education, digital badges must first establish credibility and overcome the perception that they are only used for gaming and marketing. Over time, digital badges could replace certificates and diplomas. As schools progress to include a mix of online and on-campus courses and activities, digital badge systems are well-suited to evolve to meet the needs of emerging education models.

Robert Nilsson is Director of Vertical Solutions at Extreme Networks.

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