Nowadays we obtain lots of knowledge informally online, when watching a TED video, reading a post in a blog, attending a MOOC, etc. All this knowledge acquired informally is not reflected anywhere, and is not part of our résumé, or training record. But this can all change with Mozilla OpenBadges. It is a set of open standards for creating, obtaining and displaying badges from anywhere and everywhere.
There are several considerations when using OpenBadges:
- It allows to gamify any system. The benefits of gamification [article in spanish] are well-known. The difference in use between a gamified social network and a non-gamified social network can be up to 50%, according to a study by IBM. Motivation is one of the main factors to take into account in any training.
- Recognition of knowledge acquired informally. This is not only useful to the end user; it is also very useful for companies and recruiters. Companies can target training routes more effectively and have a tool to provide knowledge and skills to their employees. Recruiters will soon have a tool that will facilitate their work also.
- It clarifies the objectives: One of the main obstacles in informal learning is the lack of clear objectives to be consistent. The user with no objectives “gets lost” and this is the cause of many dropouts. Badges are a form of recognition aimed at achieving certain key objectives.
- Lifelong learning. By separating badges from the platform, OpenBadges allows the user to maintain a repository of targets achieved over time. Badges are associated with the user regardless of where he/she got them, so that the visibility of her achievement is absolute and permanent.
See it in action
I have prepared a prototype to generate and assign a badge to a person. This prototype creates that badge and allows dynamic assignation to a user. The user can decide whether to accept that badge in their Backpack. If accepted, they will see something like this:
OpenBadges potential is multiplied when integrating it into a LMS where routes and itineraries can be created and associated to badges. The great advantage of using OpenBadges is not only that these badges stay attached to the platform, but they stay in the user’s Backpack, which can be stored along their career.
Designing the badge
To design the image any image editing tool or this utility can be used. And the “criteria” page can be a simple HTML page that displays all data related to the badge (a summary of the knowledge acquired, who is the badge provider, etc.).