Did you earn your badge on #change11?

Do you need a badge?

Know more about badges? http://openbadges.org/About/

You could copy and paste the image into your blog or website.  You could make your own badge. You could ask for a badge of every teacher, presenter in this #Change Mooc to make a badge. A badge of every week.

What is the use of badges?

http://mynotegames.com/  does use “badges”, to teach to play a music instrument. Behaviouristic approach.

22 thoughts on “Did you earn your badge on #change11?

  1. Hi Jaap! Interesting post you shared today! The whole badges idea was mentioned by G. Siemens a couple of sessions ago in the Change11 course (don’t know when exactly, maybe the Dave Cormier session?) but he said he didn’t like it, “it doesn’t work”.
    I do not share his expertise on the subject, but at first glance I do like the idea of badges.
    The whole discussion about assessment is a vivid one and will not be over for some time. Badges could be a part of the solution. They could be some sort of visual representation of someones skills or courses he/she has participated in.
    I don’t think it should be the only means of assessment, but it could be one of many alternative versions of expressing a level of competence!
    Will blog about it too!

  2. Thanks for bringing this forward so succinctly, Jaap! My reaction to the concept of badges so far is outright rejection, though I am open to considering it further since I don’t know anything about them. 🙂

    Do I need a badge? I *really* hope not. They appear at first glance to be childish, part of this ‘look at me, I need praise’ culture that is growing around me and gives me the willies.

    Do I need to know more about badges? Yes, so that I can understand this phenomenon better and provide expert advice and guidance to my colleagues and clients on whether they should be used or discarded.

    What is the use of badges? Seems to be bragging rights, maybe validation from others. I really think competence is demonstrated through performance and it doesn’t matter where/how I got to this level of performance (from self-directed research, a mooc, a formal course, a grad school, whatever).

    Have I participated in #change11? Yes. Have I learned stuff here? Definitely. By whose assessment have I succeeded? My own. No one else’s opinion on the quality of my learning here matters, quite frankly. If there’s a measure by which I need to perform, ask me and I’ll see if I can do it. 🙂

  3. I’d like a badge 😉 Do I need it? Probably not, since all of my content for this MOOC (and other MOOCs) is available in an open manner online, so others can judge my accumulated expertise on their own. Although, to be honest, “learning” isn’t my primary reason for being part of this MOOC, but rather to meet new interesting people and have meaningful interactions with them (that eventually lead to some new learning)

    I see a badge (just like I see a grade) as some sort of (external) validation of what I have accomplished in a course. A course has goals, and once those goals are reached you get some sort of “token” that can be shown off. There are different ways of accomplishing this:
    (1) A grade for the course – you can go around saying “I got a passing grade!”
    (2) Portfolio items – you can show off the work that you did for that course along with some reflection of the work
    (2) A badge

    This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it makes the point (I hope) that a badge is semiotically in the same category as other tokens of achievement.

  4. Yes, the issue of assessment is a complex problem that needs to be reinvented when it comes to MOOC study.

    To me, a badge, a certificate, a degree, an award, suggests that a person confronted a challenge, engaged in a contest, fight or competition of some sort and can claim a measure of success. The measure of success is based on independent criteria of some sort, some agreement from a body of experts whose authority, by virtue of having advanced knowledge or skill in that domain, field or problem area, can validate.

    So if a want to obtain a symbolic confirmation of self-directed learning gleaned from work completed in a MOOC it cannot be done without the input of others. Any symbol or sign will only have worth if others agree the person achieved whatever it was he/she wanted or was asked to achieve.

    If a MOOC is a test of one’s abilities or use of resources in a demanding, but stimulating undertaking on learning, then a badge will need review from some human who can attest to that accomplishment.

    Without confirmation of another person or authorizing entity (maybe even a computerized test that registers passing) then I just don’t think badges will be very useful as professional or academic artefacts of success. The immediate payback for participating in a MOOC to me is learning how to learn, engaging with others in ways heretofore unknown to me, and connecting to ideas, people and resources I never dreamed I could have access to.

    Fully engaging in a MOOC without having a perfect reward system does not invalidate or diminish the learning in any way. I’ve completed many personal learning tasks and find my experience extremely rewarding. However, without some form of validation my MOOC course self defined credit makes it less marketable but certainly not less worthwhile.

    Jenny A.

  5. In my opinion badges are not fit for MOOCs. Mobimooc did give a certificate for students that finished the MOOC and published, etc. (Ignatia, if you read this, thanks)
    Maybe, a badge would destroy the fun of paricipating.


  6. Sometimes formal recognition stifles growth. Sounds counter intuitive but how often does fame smother new talent? Can a badge become an end in itself and diminish the creativity within the person? For that matter, does an artist seek a badge when moved to paint, a poet to write a poem or a child to build an even higher tower in the block corner?

    Jenny A.

  7. I can see what you mean Jenny (about formal recognitions stifling growth).
    I think that a parallel exists between this and video games where some people (not all) go through the motions of the game just to get all of the achievement badges. What if there were formal recognitions but they were locked behind a vault and the criteria were only revealed after the MOOC was completed. Then you could have multiple badges for a MOOC indicating
    (1) Participation in xx% of the weeks (whichever way you measure that)
    (2) Completed a project relating to the MOOC during this time (examples ds106 and mobimooc)
    (3) You were re-tweeted at least x-times
    (4) You posted at least x-blog posts
    (5) You commented at in at least x-blogs
    and so on and so forth…

    Once the MOOC is over, those criteria for badges go away so the system can’t be gamed if the same MOOC is offered again in the future….hmmm… I think I have an idea brewing here…maybe I will brainstorm and elaborate more later…

  8. I would like to think MOOCers would follow the example of the bandits pretending to be the Federal Police in Treasure of the Sierra Madre when asked to show their badges: “Badges? We don’ gots to show you no stinking badges!”

    My three credits from the University of Manitoba Connectivism MOOC represent something to me in terms of effort but as post-secondary mojo, trade below par because:

    Nobody knows enough about Connectivism for me to adequately explain it to them

    Fewer people have ever heard of Manitoba

    And how shallow can a person be to take credit for being in a MOOC? Leveraging the network for personal gain–shame on me.


  9. Wait a second Scott, let’s look at Apostolos suggestion in terms of learning theory.There is nothing shameful about wanting tangible rewards used to validate learning behavior. It’s the bedrock of most forms of educational assessment.

    The whole idea of badges or tangible rewards is a basic tenant of behaviorism. Badges are a form of an independent assessment on personal achievement that has been assigned currency of some sort. You don’t find badges, you earn them, or win them, or meet set criteria in order to collect them, making them a form of currency for completing a task.

    The way Apostolos has conceived the reward system is based on intermittent reinforcement. Intermittent reinforcement usually makes the subject (or student in this case) increase the desirable behavior. Without knowing exactly the reward schedule for each behavior- for example attendance, compared to mean number of words per post, I am more likely to increase my efforts at both tasks just to cover the odds. So it would work well on the highest-numbers game level.

    Whether the posts have any content worth reading requires yet another layer of assessment, better explained by social cognition than traditional behaviorism. The content would have to be measured for quality, which is subjective, otherwise the badge is nothing more than a doubloon thrown from a Mardi Gras float. The criteria could be described by rubric or voted on after the course was completed, it doesn’t matter, the fact that the criteria was defined by an outside authority makes it social.

    Mucking up the pure joy of learning in a MOOC by adding tangible rewards is a serious change in the rule book. (Providing feedback is another discussion altogether, which may be what Apostolos is suggesting)

    Perhaps a MOOC should be approached more like a personal exercise program by each participant. It’s a free and well equipped professional-academic health club. We would be given access to an analytic tool that allows each learner to define what to track, much like the gadget on my elliptical. A MOOC is certainly good for my cognitive, academic and professional mental health, demanding various levels of mental aerobic activity, and part of an overall healthy learning lifestyle. 😉

    Jenny A.

  10. Hey, Scott, I’ve seen you in this mooc (on The Daily, on others’ blogs and on live sessions). I’ve even been to Manitoba a couple of times! I hereby badge you as a ‘good’ moocer. LOL 🙂

  11. Thanks Brainy! I try to be well distributed in order to account for my apparent shallowness:-) I’ve seen you too–how should we account for this and still believe in the power of complexity to scramble our minds? Perhaps we are witnessing the emergence of order from the primordial disorder of the the Big-MOOC? The early time, before it all hardens into a curriculum. Yikes!

    Part of the attraction of MOOCs is never quite settling (at least mentally). As soon as something starts to make sense, a brand new notion runs off with my attention. The journey is the reward, not the destination (which won’t sit still anyway). Hate to see that go away.

    @Jenny. I wholeheartedly support feedback. We’ve been auditing course outcomes as stated in program summary sheets in our office for a few weeks and outcome statements seem designed to remove the joy of learning. The justification is to present a product that does as it claims but it also suggests to me that accomplishment is simply the outcome of following directions. How do we insert a human student into this? I’d rather there be an assurance that you as a student will receive meaningful feedback as you bash around in the course. I guess this predictability is the only outcome that can be offered by a system that creates simulations and then populates the stage with simulated “students” clamoring after phony “achievements”?


  12. Why not a kind plenary session at the end of the MOOC where participants are asked:

    1. Who contributed most to your learning in this MOOC? (Probably excluding facilitators but including presenters)
    2. List all participants you feel contributed to your learning? (Maybe this could be a rating)
    3. I’m sure there are more…

    At the end of the session and voting(?) a permanent record via a web page could made which shows the scores of those voted for as well as who voted for them. This page could be analysed by people as they see fit to evaluate who they think was appreciated.

  13. Hi Scott (and all other MOOC’ers), I like this discussion. Predictability is what management wants. Schools are managed so managers will make schools to become predictable processes with measurable results. Politicians want schools to be efficient and they like the ideas of managers about predictability. The idea of manufacturability and predictability are very strong in society, because these ideas are strong and they work for most of our problems. (The assessment and test movement in management and poilitics is an outcome of these ideas)
    The rhizomatic metaphore of education is a revolution against this management view.

  14. Hey Jaap,

    Predictability first requires simplification and the removal of variables that spoil orderliness. If we can think so little of a person that we can remove qualities that make for individuality we might as well go the whole route and replace them with a model.

    Built a fence once for a company around a scrubby, dry patch of dead farmland a half-mile on a side. Because wandering sheep herders regularly crossed this land we built 4 fine gates, 3 sheep wide in the middle of each side. Within a week the fence had many holes cut in it with not even a sheep footprint anywhere near the gates. Obviously we had imagined a model of sheep herder that fit our needs, not theirs. Someone who doesn’t recognize the need for fences can hardly be expected to see the convenience value of a gate.


  15. Hi Allan, If someone wanted to be assessed for some reason he should organize this. I found a comment here that proposed to give badges for little parts of MOOC activity. (every blogpost a badge, a comment badge, joining a life session a badge, including media in a blog a badge, posting a FB post, etc.)
    regards Jaap

  16. Hi Jenny, thanks for visiting the weblog and leaving such a fine comment. Made me think. Rewards are fine, nothing as stimulating as a reward. Children grow on rewards and compliments, and I enjoy them too.
    Learning in a MOOC is a kind of art, and rewarding art products or processes is difficult. Writers, painters, musicians, they all can win prizes. Stimulating for the arts these prizes. Juries of the art prizes do meet discussion and anger on the prizes given, wrong prize for wrong reasons or for wrong persons. Learning is almost only a process, so how should a honest jury give prizes?
    I am in doubt.
    regards Jaap

  17. You write “What is the use of badges?” and in my case I intend to use them in a P2PU course about ‘Teachers Open Online Learning’ for professional development. Maybe one lever is ‘Participant’, then ‘Mentor’ and finally ‘Facilitator’…

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