How to prepare your course for badging?
Implementing badging into your course/program can be as simple or as complex as your goals for learning. For example, your goal may be that learners engage in public discourse through comments on a course blog. In this case, the learning pathway is simple and straightforward - an assigned number of comments will earn you a badge. In another instance, your goal for learners may be to facilitate a design process - which involves a number of steps and competencies. Each step will need to be mapped out in terms of what learners will need to do in order to earn the badge. These steps may involve submissions, comments, quizzes or activities which will need to be verified. Once you map out one set of steps for earning a badge, you will want to have a conversation with a learning technologist to ensure that your requirements can be met.
When designing a badge pathway for your course, the following should be considered:
Touchpoints refer to your first considerations around criteria for the badge. Touchpoints must be considered in conjunction with badge issuing. The badge issuing determines how the badge will be awarded using the technology provided. There may be some constraints in how you offer your badge as not all badge issuing can be automated. For example, a badge can be issued when a blog post shows critical evaluation of an article but someone will need to review the post and issue the badge.
Does the badge earner need previous skills or knowledge to earn a badge?
In addition to deciding on the types of badges you will issue, you need to consider whether to use badge levels. Badge levels is the structure or path in which badges are earned. Decisions about using badge levels depend on whether there is a hierarchy in the learning process that requires an earner to gain specific knowledge and/or skill before moving on. Badges levels can also be useful if a topic is complex enough that it needs to be broken down into sub-themes and competencies.
The following outlines the kinds of leveled badge systems that should be considered when designing a badge pathway.
Tiered badges place badges in an explicit hierarchy. The purpose of a tiered system may be the following:
A tiered system of badges can concentrate the efforts of badge earners on one topic, which deepens their knowledge as they move through content.
Meta-level badges represent several skills, behaviours, knowledge, and/or abilities that make up a higher level of understand around a larger topic. The type of learning here does not necessarily need to be hierarchical like with the tiered badge design. The purpose of meta-level badges is to identify the core competencies in a subtopic of a larger area of study. The purpose of a meta-level badge system may be the following:
The meta-level badge, the Basic Library Skills badge, is awarded when the subtopics have been covered and the badges for these areas have been awarded to the student.
The Basic Library Skills badge represents the more complex competencies and literacies acquired through the earning of the other badges. This badge can be showcased by the student as proof of mastery over the basic library research skills required for first year students.
The reason for using the tiered system is the knowledge and skills needed to develop competencies in the areas of finding, accessing, and using academic resources requires prior understanding.
For example, to learn how to find the best material for a paper using a database (See: Tool Selection Badge), the student must understand what material is available to them based on the scope of their paper (See: Research Process Badge.)
The hierarchical badging approach was used to ensure students understood basic concepts before moving on to more complex concepts.
What will learners need to do in order to get the badge?
The activity required for a student to earn a badges is important to consider seriously. For badges to hold real value and to carry authority, assessment and quality is critical. Badges can contain multiple levels of assessment, depending on the use case, community or intended audience. Some require distinct predefined assessment exercises and success criteria while others may be loosely defined and require earner reflection or peer recommendations.
Consider the perspective of both the earner and the issuer when developing badge criteria.
For badge earners:
For badge issuers:
LAW 423B - Video Game Law Scholar Badge
The Scholar Badge for LAW 423B is earned by students for finding, analyzing, and posting interdisciplinary and legal research papers to the course website.
|UBC Basic Library Skills Tutorial Locate Badge|
The Locate Badge for UBC Library's Basic Library Skills Tutorial is earned by students for reviewing video and textual content on locating items in the library and receiving 100% on a quiz within two attempts.
To plan the touchpoints of your badge learning pathway, consider how your badges connect with one another. That is, think about the order in which badges will be earned and answer the following questions.
Badge types are the general categories you will issue based on what sort of learning or engagement you are aiming for in your course or program. When planning your badge program design you'll need to decide on the types of badges you plan to issue based on the goals of both the course/program and of the badges themselves. Badge programs will often have a mixture of different types of badges on offer to better align with the goals and objectives of the whole program.
|Participation Badge |
A participation badge is based on student involvement throughout the course or program.
For example, a participation badge can be earned by commenting on another student's post.
|Recognition Badge |
A recognition badge is based on developing a particular skill or competency.
For example, a recognition badge can be earned by creating a video and uploading it to YouTube.
|Achievement Badge |
An achievement badge is based on accomplishment, like making something or successfully completing a project or quiz.
For example, an achievement badge can be earned for completing a final quiz for a course module.
|Contribution Badge |
A contribution badge is based on recognition of individual or group contributions that bring about a specific result or advancement.
For example, a contribution badge can be earned by receiving the highest rating for a blog post.
|Certification Badge |
A certification badge is based on confirmation of a set of characteristics confirmed through a set of combined criteria (e.g. education, experience, etc.)
For example, a certification badge can be earned for attending and participating in workshops, webinars, and lectures on the same topic.
|Controller Badge for Video Game Law|
Description: LAW423B uses a website for community engagement and development around the subject of video game law.
Goal: The instructor wanted to increase engagement in the web content to further develop the online community and increase open conversation.
|Badge Type Selected: The Controller badge is a participation badge type that is earned by making at least ten comments on posts and publishing at least five new blog posts on the Video Game Law website. The purpose of this badge is to both reward and track participation on the website.|
To plan the types of badges you will offer in your badge system, consider the following questions.
Resource Development Portal
|Welcome to the resource development wiki for the Open Badges Resource site. We hope you’ll find what you need or jump in and help create new resource.|
|Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.|
A badge which is aesthetically appealing may entice students to claim it, facilitating its purpose as a motivational tool. A beautiful badge is also more likely to be posted to social media, facilitating its purpose as a credential. For these reasons, is it important to design your badge thoughtfully. This guide will provide you with information on how to do so.
When designing a badge, consider your audience. Adults may have different aesthetic tastes compared to youths, and badges from different disciplinary domains may warrant a different aesthetic. If you are not sure what aesthetic is appropriate for your badge, it might be an idea to look at websites, brochures, and logos associated with your badge concept.
Once you've got a sense of your aesthetic, consider the message you would like your badge to convey. A badge is more likely to have a powerful impact if the message and the visuals align. To identify your key message, it may be helpful to ask yourself:
Once you've identified your key message, consider how you would like to convey it. Do you plan to use images or words?
In what follows, we describe how to deploy words and images for maximum effect.
Different fonts convey different messages. For example, Comic Sans may convey a light-hearted message, while Times New Roman may come across as very serious. One way to develop your sensitivity for appropriate fonts is to be observant of how fonts are used in the external world. In addition to selecting a font, you may also want to combine fonts. Often, fonts that look good together belong to the same typeface - that is, to a family of fonts sharing a common design but differing in weight, style, and width, but generally look alike.
For example, here is the Futura family of fonts:
It is also possible to select fonts from different typefaces for a pleasing effect. To do this, the following guides may be helpful
If you plan to use images to convey your message, consider your colour choices. Generally, it is a good idea to restrict your badge to fewer than three colours. Simplicity is key!
In the process of designing your badge, it is often a good idea to experiment first with colours that are very different from one another - also known as complementary colours. To help you find complementary colours, Adobe's online program may prove useful - it automatically identifies the complementary colours for any given colour. Adobe's program also offers other methods of identifying pleasing colour combinations.
It also should be noted darker hues tend to look better on screens. As badges will typically be viewed online, darker hues are a good idea.
Consider using simple shapes when designing your badge. Simple shapes can powerfully convey your message, which leads to a stronger visual impact. By contrast, clutter can make it difficult to figure out what your badge represents.
Some people are tempted to reuse a brand logo or a department design in their badge icon. While such borrowing is a perfectly acceptable way of experimenting with different designs, it is best if your ultimate design is somewhat distinct from other designs found in your department. You'll want to send a message that your badge is not as easy to obtain as a logo of the department letterhead.
The following tools provide you options to design your badge image.
If you do not have the resources or the inclination to design your own badge, one alternative is to ask your audience of badge earners to submit their ideas for a badge icon. Not only can this approach generate very interesting designs, but it may also draw people into the badging program.