Digital Badges in Education

Participants in many activities are graded as to their accomplishments. In traditional education (K-12) courses and post-secondary education, students are assigned grades on assignments and examinations which ends with a final grade in the course. Most students are somewhat motivated to achieve a positive final grade but it seems to be a private reward between the student and instructor.

Digital badges can be utilized to offer a more public way to show accomplishment and can be used to motivate students to work towards a goal, the badge, and attain recognition for their work. I have seen putting stars on a chart motivate young students. I myself was motivated to attain proficiency badges in Cubs and Boy Scouts, and Certificates of Recognition in industry based specialized training in technology courses.

In adult education digital badges can be used to show what an individual has learned and badges can be awarded to define specific skills (Finkelstein, 2013). The Open Badge project (Mozilla Foundation), describes the history and popularity of digital badges worldwide. That people as social beings and desire recognition for their achievements was recognized by Freud in his study of human behavior. Digital badges can be posted to a variety of social media sites from a service like Credly.

Some examples badges for proficiency in using spreadsheets for adult education students:

What if analysis is seen as representing a basic understand of spreadsheet tools and use
Knowing how to make charts and graphs in a format that is readable is a specialized skill
Spreadsheets can be used as a database and being able to search the database requires some practice

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