Open Badges were developed in 2010 by the Mozilla Foundation, with support from Peer2Peer University and the MacArthur Foundation. They are designed to be a method of validating and certifying knowledge and experience in a less formal manner than degree certificates and grade transcripts, and have been identified as having a high potential impact on education, likely to be felt within the next 2-5 years (Open University, 2012, p. 16-18). Additionally, they have the potential to be a motivational tool to encourage students to take control of their studies and help emphasise the need for extra-curricular experience and achievement. In this way, Open Badges can support employability strategies by providing students with clear targets that are relevant to industry.
Open Badges support linking to evidence to justify their award, meaning that they can aid students in developing portfolios of work and, by making the badges publically viewable, provide evidence of their work to prospective employers. Another major benefit of Open Badges is that they help expose the skills and competencies students have acquired through their studies. Students often overlook this aspect of Higher Education because the focus is on grades, yet it is the underlying skills that are often most valued by employers (McDowell, 2013).
This paper discusses the implications of Open Badge adoption on Higher Education, highlight examples of their use, and stimulate consideration of the potential of this recent innovation. Several existing online systems are available, and these are discussed along with some suggestions on possible uses for Open Badges.
McDowell, L. M. (2013). Skills and Labour market change. White Paper. http://www.nelep.co.uk/media/2624/linda-mcdowell-skills.pdf [accessed 04 May 2013].
Open University. (2012). Innovating Pedagogy 2012. White Paper. http://www.open.ac.uk/personalpages/mike.sharples/Reports/Innovating_Pedagogy_report_July_2012.pdf
[accessed 04 May 2013].
Click to view presentation: 247 Open Badges – SHULT13