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Wednesday, November 18 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Enough with Weak Sauce Badges!

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We have been issuing open badges for two years, and have had many conversations on the potential value of open badges with university faculty, K-12 administrators, technology coordinators, teachers, and researchers. Often the first step in these conversations is to attempt to rewire misconceptions about open badges and what they can represent in teaching/learning systems. One of the biggest challenges we have seen in the badging community is a flood of badges for things as useless as attendance, creating a login, or simply existing as a learner. We believe these badges represent a misunderstanding of the basic concepts of assessment, credentialing, and the supposed benefit of a credential to learners who indeed do want their badges to signal knowledge, skills, or expertise to others. In addition, we believe this flood of "lightweight" badges have given the general public a poor impression of badges, requiring all of us to persuade stakeholders that badging can, in fact, be rigorous. It is our real concern that if the badging community does not show how open badges can be rigorous and meaningful, that the badging movement will fade away as a fun diversion, but one that ultimately had no real impact on educational reform.

In this presentation, we will attempt to do what Joseph (2014) argued the badging community needed: more people talking to each other about badging, instead of just to potential critics or adopters. In doing so, we will begin our presentation by overviewing the variety of badges available, and discuss the concept of lightweight versus heavyweight badges (terms already being used to discuss this divide). We will then explain the rationale some have given for lightweight badges, and follow with our counter argument for why this lightweight approach to badging weakens the badging movement, diminishes the signaling power of earned badges, and clutters the ability of people to find meaningful badges. We will then provide our argument for why badge providers should focus on the rigor of their badges, and strive to create badges of consequence. We will also provide suggestions on how we, as a community, might be able to bolster the badging movement.

avatar for Daniel Randall

Daniel Randall

Ph.D. Candidate, Brigham Young University
avatar for Richard West

Richard West

Professor, Instructional Psychology and Technology Department, Brigham Young University
Dr. Richard E. West (@richardewest on twitter) is a professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. He teaches courses in instructional technology, academic research and writing, creativity and innovation, design psychology, and product/program evaluation... Read More →

Wednesday November 18, 2015 4:00pm - 4:30pm PST

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