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Learner Citizenship

The evaluation of the use of pedagogies promoting learner citizenship though the lab’s project Open Badges revealed the following key points through the evaluation process:

Open Badges

Delivery of teaching and learning activity
  • To ensure that students’ additional efforts are acknowledged and appreciated, the DMLL has launched an Open Badges project to examine the feasibility of using badges to support students’ employability through digital accreditation of learning and skills in both curricular and extracurricular activities
  • Open Badges are:
    • Earned from multiple sources and collected in a single backpack
    • Stackable, allowing earners to build a rich digital identity
    • Displayed across social networking profiles, websites and more
    • Issued by many organisations in the HE and industry
    • Full of information, linking back to the issuer, criteria and verifying evidence
  • Open Badges recognise skills and learning through digital certification that allows the badge owner to demonstrate achievement and the viewer to see the criteria for the badge
  • Open Badges are becoming increasingly popular as a means of rewarding and publicising achievements, skills and knowledge. As a result they are also viewed as having the potential to recognise and connect learning across contexts, regardless of location and time
  • Open Badges are open through their open ethos expressed through openly readable criteria and shareability and technically open through their open source software and open community development
  • Open Badges are considered a “lightweight and trusted mechanism” that may establish a learner’s credibility outside the context in which their badges were originally earned by providing a record of the skills and achievements that learners gain through their participation in various programmes
  • Open Badges have the potential to indicate a student’s profile of skills to external audiences such as fellow peers/colleagues and employers
  • Project work in the lab has evaluated students’ use of badges, the effectiveness of open badges as a means of accrediting skills and knowledge and the platforms for awarding badges. Pilot project work conducted to date has included the integration of Open Badges in learning programmes within the university, which pilot the use of Open Badges with students and tutors to investigate the opportunities provided by this concept and the challenges related to it (please see Sections 2 and 3 for more insights) The pilots have also sought to utilise the strong connections Coventry University has with local and associated industry to investigate the potential deployment and value the Open Badges concept may have from the viewpoint of industry stakeholders
Review and improvement of programmes and practice

Online learning projects were seen to:

  • Open Badges have the potential to engage learners with extra-curricular opportunities for learning new skills
  • Open Badges form a mosaic of an individual learner’s skills and interests and evidence of learning is carried with the Open Badge, unlike traditional accreditation systems
  • Learners can curate which badges are displayed where across online profiles and websites to form a bespoke and agile online identity
  • Open Badges can be used to:
    • Build students’ professional digital identity beyond HE
    • Help learners shape a full picture of their skills and achievements
    • Reward extra-curricular learning and achievement
    • Verify practical skills and informal learning
    • Scaffold progressive learning and skills acquisition
    • Complement existing assessments with extra-curricular badges
Student support and guidance
  • Students’ understanding of Open Badges focuses on:
    • Representing practical rather than academic skills
    • Reaching a particular – and agreed – standard
    • Value being in the openness of the badge – only useful if they can show them to others
    • Employer perspectives and engagement with badges are essential to students
  • Perceived benefits include enhanced self-esteem and using an appealing visual system
  • Perceived challenges include the perceived value of badges, the credibility of the system, awareness and recognition around open badges and the fact that it is not yet a university-wide scheme
  • Tutors’ perceptions included:
    • “Open badging is bridging the gap between the skill set of the student and the employer […] It gives the student the ability to explore and develop their own media skill set […] and it helps the student create an identity of specialist skills, that they can take into the workplace…”
    • “It empowers students beyond just learning a new skill. It gives identification and the student feels like they are getting something digitally tangible that reflects them…”
Effective use of resources
  • The Open Badges are awarded through websites online and are portable in digital environments
  • Students can upload badges to a Mozilla backpack, to a social media account or show them on their personal web space
  • In the longer term, it would be possible to attach them to a digital transcript
Already developed tools/frameworks
  • Open Badges Design Framework




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