Digital badges have emerged as a new tool for engaging and motivating online learners. These badges have been adapted from online games into online learning spaces and are being used both as a representation of achievements and as an incentive to guide learner behaviour (Anderson et al., 2014). Educators have found that awarding badges has become a key ingredient in motivating online learners and as a means of engaging learners in the course (Anderson et al., 2014). It can also provide an alternative form of assessment to increase learner motivation (Abramovich et. al, 2011).
However, it appears that badges have been embraced by industry and education reformers, rather than traditional educational institutes (Young, 2012). Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, with large enrolment numbers, free access and no formal credentials are highlighting questions of engagement and motivation. MOOCs have become one of the key testing environments of the use of digital badges to engage and motivate learners. Badges in the MOOC environment can enable learners to be mobile, collect achievements from various learning environments and ultimately display a comprehensive set of accomplishments.
In this paper, we present a case study detailing the implementation and evaluation of the use of digital badges in a MOOC offered by Swinburne University of Technology through CourseSites. The “Carpe Diem MOOC” was focused on developing knowledge and skills in learning design with participants randomly assigned to small groups to work on activities throughout the six week course. A key challenge, particularly given the group work requirement, was to find ways to engage and motivate participants throughout the MOOC. The CourseSites badge environment enabled participants to earn a badge each week and, on completion of all activities, a Mozilla Open Badge was provided that could be made visible in the Open Back Pack. A key consideration of offering badges was the validity and verification of submissions. This paper presents our findings in relation to the innovative approach taken within the MOOC in the design of badges and the process of verifying evidence required to obtain the Open Badge on completion of the course.
Abramovich, S, Schumn, C, Higashi, R M 2013, ‘Are badges useful in education? It depends upon the type of badge and expertise of learner’, Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 217-232.
Anderson, A, Huttenlocher, D, Kleinberg, J, Leskovec J 2014, ‘Engaging with Massive Online Courses’, International World Wide Web Conference 2014, viewed 24 March 2014, <http://arxiv.org/pdf/1403.3100v2.pdf>.
Young, J R 2012, ‘’Badges’ earned online pose challenges to traditional college diplomas’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, viewed 20 March 2014, <http://chronicle.com/article/Badges-Earned-Online-Pose/130241/>.
|Name||Kulari Lokuge Dona|
|Affiliation||Swinburne University of Technology|