Open Learning Badges and Higher Education - Threats and Opportunities

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Mulligan, B., Passmore, D, Baker, R., Peck, P., "Open Learning Badges and Higher Education - Threats and Opportunities", ALT-C 2012 Conference, Manchester, 11-13 Sep, 2012


  • 1.Open Learning Badges and Higher Education:Threats and OpportunitiesALT-C 2012 Conference Manchester, September 11-13, 2012Brian MulliganInstitute of Technology Sligo, Ireland Kyle Peck David PassmoreRose BakerPenn State University, USA

2. Learning is happening everywhere! 3. Most does not "count" Skills assessment and communication is limited in thecurrent system, e.g. GPA, Bachelor or Master degrees, static resume Few alternatives to the current accreditation/credentialingsystem 4. The Badging Movement Badges were: Physical or graphic icons representing a rank or accomplishment. Badges are becoming: Digital, clickable representations of lifelong learning. This seemingly simple notion has potentiallysignificant implications for vocational training aswell as for K-12 and higher education. 5. Badging and Mastery Learning. In Higher Education: Outcomes often poorly defined andcommunicated. Assessment currently weak. Grades dont guarantee competency But we can dodge the accountability for this failure. Better for sorting students than for developinghigher-order skills.Badging, if done well, may help us solve theseproblems. 6. Emerging Interest in Badging MacArthur Foundation Competition Kicked off by Secretary of Education ArneDuncan as well as representatives from NASA,NSF, NAM, NEA 30 demonstration projects funded Mozilla has been funded to develop an Open Badging Infrastructure 7. The Open Badging Infrastructure Will manage badges, worldwide Tools for badge issuers Tools for badge recipients Tools for badge displayers (like FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.) Badges will contain data and be clickable,with links to: The criteria for earning the badge (Often mastery) The assessment used to award the badge (optional) The work (documents, videos, etc.) submitted as evidence of learning. 8. Impacts?David WileysOr Equivalent Chron icle of Higher Educ ation, January 9. Threat to Higher Education? Is there a cartel in Higher Ed qualifications? Why do employers value them so much? What if there was an alternative system? Why might employers like badges? Ease of verification Detailed information Mastery / Competence based What if they liked them a lot? 10. What would it need to succeed? Authentication Reliability Robustness Cascading Quantification Aggregation 11. Opportunities? Could drive important changes: Could improve focus and assessment What do we really care about in this course? What do we need to see to certify that someone can DO something? How will we define competence and communicate progress tolearners? Could lead to mastery learning and individualization Could change TEACHing Less focus on presentation / More focus on formative assessmentand certification Could it be the end of courses and semesters? 12. Opportunities? Could influence students enrollment choices. Course credits & degrees, or Badges? Or both? Why take a course and get only course credits when you could get badges AND course credits? Could raise employers expectations for quality and forinformation communicated about what people know and cando. Could challenge long-standing reputations: Standing of institutions not willing to use badges and revealtheir expectations and assessments could quickly dive. Institutions ready to do this well (existing or new) couldrapidly develop strong reputations for quality. 13. Opportunities? Accreditation could change: From accreditation to offer degrees to accreditation to offer badges From accrediting institutions to accrediting individuals. Accountability could change: Feedback loop? like When employers find a badge-holder who cant perform, that could be conveyed to the accrediting agency or to the general public, like reviews of online products. Accreditation could be revoked, and others granted badges by the same examiner could be asked to perform again. 14. Opportunities? Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Quickly verify previous learning Including MOOCs Aggregate achievements Impact on Motivation 15. What do you think? Lets talk.