Planet Badges

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [67]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Nov 21 2014 20:32:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hey there folks,

We were thrilled to issue Badge Alliance badges this week - if you think you’re eligible but haven’t gotten yours yet, let us know.

Lots of community members have been out and about this week at various conferences, including Open Ed, Global Education Conference, and the Pittsburgh Learning Pathways Summit - the #openbadges hashtag on Twitter is a good way to find conversations from other events.

What else happened this week?

That’s it from us, folks! Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll catch up with everyone for a couple of days next week before we break for Thanksgiving.

Badge Alliance Badges are here!

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Nov 21 2014 15:38:57 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The Badge Alliance is pleased to announce the first set of open badges designed to recognize the diligent work and meaningful contributions that Working Group members have made to the global open badges movement throughout Cycle 1. We’re excited to say that all of the email notifications for these badges have been sent and that these badges are beginning to be claimed by their earners.

If, after reading the badge descriptions and criteria below, you believe that you are eligible for one or more of these badges and you haven’t heard from us, email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned. Please include the criteria you’ve met, as well as any evidence supporting your application. Thank you!

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Badge Alliance Community Member

image

This badge acknowledges general membership in the Open Badges community and participation ranging from activity in the Google group to joining weekly community calls.

Criteria:

The Community Member illustrates conceptual fortitude by signing up for at least one of the mailing lists to interact with the Open Badges community.

Potential Evidence:

  • Subscribes to one or more Working Group mailing list or the Open Badges Community Group
  • Interacts with the Open Badges community via Twitter or Facebook

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Badge Alliance Working Group Contributor

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This badge acknowledges Open Badges community members who have actively attended conferences, or participated in mailing lists, working groups, or community calls.

Criteria:

The Contributor helps to build the open badges ecosystem through active participation in the Working Group or community calls and mailing lists.

Potential Evidence:

  • Subscribes to one or more Working Group mailing list or the Open Badges Community Group
  • Attends weekly Community Calls or Working Group calls
  • Contributes to Working Group etherpads
  • Participates in mailing list discussions

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Badge Alliance Working Group Fellow

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This badge acknowledges those who go above and beyond in their contributions to the Open Badges community.

Criteria:

The Fellow displays community-building characteristics, reinforces new ideas about assessment, learning and credentialing, and champions open badges in their respective areas of expertise.

Potential Evidence:

  • Held a leadership role in a Working Group (Chair, Cabinet Member, Secretary)
  • Active participation in the Open Badges MOOC
  • Regularly updates the Badge Alliance team and community on their badge activity
  • Speaks on panels with Badge Alliance members
  • Presents their work on Working Group Calls or Community Calls

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Open Badges Advocate

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This badge acknowledges individuals who regularly champion Open Badges through active blogging, writing, research, or speaking at conferences.

Criteria:

The Advocate exhibits depth and breadth of knowledge about Open Badges in their writing, research, or presentations.

Potential Evidence:

  • Regularly speaks about Open Badges at conferences, on panels, in workshops, etc.
  • Actively writes or blogs about badges
  • Conducts and publishes research into badges

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Badge Alliance Visionary

image

This badge acknowledges individuals who have altered the landscape of Open Badges through innovative work in research, coding, or badge system design and implementation.

Criteria:

The Visionary makes it possible for others to see the tremendous potential in the open badges movement.

Potential Evidence:

  • Forges new paths for open badges adoption
  • Suggests new approached to alternative credentialing
  • Questions normative understandings of learning, assessment, research, and so-called traditional learning pathways
  • Contributes code, research, and badge system design and implementation in innovative ways

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Badge Alliance Founding Member

image

This badge acknowledges individuals who played an important role in helping to found the Badge Alliance.

Criteria:

The Founding Members helped to establish the Badge Alliance as a nexus of badge innovation and thereby increased the reach of the open badges ecosystem through their support.

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Claim Your Badges

We’ve made every effort to appropriately issue these badges.

If you think you might be eligible for one or more of these badges, and you haven’t heard from us, email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned. Please include the criteria you’ve met, as well as any evidence supporting your application.

If you’ve been awarded badges to the wrong email address, please email badges@badgealliance.org to let us know which badge(s) you have earned and your preferred email address (the one your Backpack is associated with).

Thank you!

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 20 2014 18:45:22 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014:

Speaker:

Agenda:

This week Sheryl Grant joined the community call to discuss findings from initial research into the 30 winners of the 2011 Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition administered by HASTAC in partnership with Mozilla (funded by MacArthur Foundation).

These 30 project teams won funding for one year, to develop their proposed badging projects, many of which were built starting in fall 2012. Sheryl and her team asked each project group a series of questions at various stages in the projects’ development to find common lessons learned and stumbling blocks to badge system development in the early days of the open badging ecosystem. She was particularly interested to see whether the projects that were designed to be more ‘functional’ (meaning they were sustainable in the long term) had particular lessons to share, compared to projects designed to be pilots.

Here were some core lessons learned:

  • People: Partnerships between project teams and other organizations lead to relationship building, but can sometimes prevent progress; many of the badge systems that didn’t make it to ‘functional’ were hindered by issues related to mismatched collaborations
  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders will define the boundaries of a badge system and need to be identified early in the system development, as each stakeholder represents a boundary to be navigated
  • Teachers are stakeholders: The quality of the user experience for teachers will affect their approach to badge systems in educational spaces. It’s important to engage faculty and teachers as co-creators and co-designers of badge systems; initiating early and ongoing training for teachers first is crucial to ensuring their support.
  • Finding a common language: Identifying badge-specific terminology is key to effectively communicating ideas within the project team and to outside contractors and consultants. In response to similar concerns from others in the community, the Badge Alliance Messaging Working Group initiated work on an Open Badges Glossary during Cycle 1
  • Explain badges early: The concept of badges is not always easy for those being introduced to the idea - providing information early and often is key, as well as developing strong user stories about how badges will work
  • Design for relevance: Relevance was a key word that kept reappearing during the project Q+As. Asking learners and stakeholders what they value will help avoid assumptions in the badge system design process and ensure the system is valuable to all involved
  • Build external partnerships: What gives badges weight for stakeholders — Sharing learning pathways? Motivating learners? Or badges holding currency outside of the issuing environment? Identify badges’ value and relevance for stakeholders early in the badge system design process
  • Trust networks: Fostering a collective belief in the value of the badges within and beyond the issuing community is an important part of ecosystem- and trust network-building. Define your trust network of stakeholders and external partners early to ensure the development of a valuable badge system
  • Fail fast: The ‘golden rule’ to badge system design is frequent iteration: testing with real users early and often allows for fixes. Releasing smaller pieces before larger ones also helps build a stronger badge system from the beginning stages of development
  • Learning Pathways: Designing learning pathways is more complex than developing curricula and course requirements; allow enough time for the design and development of badge criteria and pathways. Creating shared assessment criteria might help badges have value and be connected across different programs; so will aligning badges to existing standards, and using tags to make badges more discoverable (for example, by using the badge directory app on Achievery: https://app.achievery.com/discover)
  • User experience (UX): A “clunky” badge system will make badge understanding, earning and sharing more difficult; many project teams said it would be worth the money to get someone who can make the UX intuitive
  • Visual Design: Project teams also said visual design elements should not be underestimated. Overall, simpler designs are better; it’s also important to think about different screen sizes (computers, tablets, mobile)
  • Badge Types: There are different levels and types of badges to be created; careful consideration of learning outcomes and values will guide the badge types each system needs. Experimenting early and keeping things simple will ensure the development of a strong badge system foundation, at which point other features can be developed.
  • Technology: Focus on the technical side of badge system design early; pre-empting technical issues early will allow for agility in re-design. Many projects needed an engineer (and didn’t have one); hiring the best a project team can afford will help if (but usually when) the project comes up against complex technical challenges, particularly when integrating with existing legacy systems

For more detail, check out the full report here: http://dmlhub.net/publications/what-counts-learning

Michigan State University Extension | Digital Badging Series

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 20 2014 15:19:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Jacob Dedecker, an academic specialist at MSU, began a series on digital badges in August 2014. Five parts of the series have been published so far - take a look at the topics covered in the excerpts below:

==================================

Part 1: A bright new way for students to showcase their skills and knowledge

An introduction to digital badges, including an ongoing project with youth participating in a 4-H Renewable Energy Camp:

Youth participating in 4-H Renewable Energy Camp this past June were given the opportunity to earn digital badges in solar energy, wind energy and bioenergy. Youth researched a problem, designed a solution and presented their findings to the entire camp. Learning hot to problem solve, work as a team and communicate are important life skills. In addition, youth engaged in these activities meet certain core science competencies that schools try to teach in the classroom. If youth learn and demonstrate these key competencies during out-of-school time activities like in summer science camps, could they receive credit for that learning? That is one of the key questions this group is asking and digital badging may be a way to do just that.

Read the article in full…

Part 2: What do high school students think of digital badges?

Part 2 looked at how the youth participating in the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp responded to the badges they were earning:

  • 87 percent of students felt that receiving a digital badge validates the knowledge and skills gained at camp.
  • 92 percent of students reported that receiving a digital badge helps document all the knowledge gain; including which takes place outside of school.
  • 89 percent of participants are interested in earning more digital badges in the future.

Read the article in full…

Part 3: Could earning digital badges help young people get a job?

This article explored the potential of badges to help youth find employment opportunities:

As companies look to find the best talent to help their companies thrive, digital badges offer a different view into the experiences, knowledge and skills of candidates they are looking to hire. While grade point averages and ACT scores offer perspective on formal academic achievements, a digital badge can speak to learning experiences and knowledge gained around standards in specific content areas such as solar energy or water quality.

Read the article in full…

Part 4: Could earning digital badges help your child get into college?

This article explored the potential of badges to help youth access academic opportunities:

Are digital badges something post-secondary institutions are looking at to help them determine the best students to admit to their colleges? Digital badges certainly provide another means for students to showcase what they know, the skills they have developed and the experiences they have that would help them be successful in college. Ultimately that is what college admissions are trying to do – identify students that can be successful in their college and departments. However this can be challenging when only looking at a few data points such as GPA and ACT scores, which now carry so much weight in those decisions. Offering another way to feature a student’s academic success and abilities would help students better highlight what they are capable of doing, allowing colleges to make more informed decisions.

Read the article in full…

Part 5: Could digital badges be designed to represent different levels of learning?

This latest article looks badge types and levels, as well as standards that can help badge consumers differentiate between different badges and the learning experiences they represent:

Because digital badges can represent a wide scope of activities, it could be helpful to create a standard that depicts specific types of learning. Even better would be a particular look for badges that connect to a type of learning that can be easily seen by teachers and future employees. The badge style, in essence, would say, “this badge means I learned something significant.”

Read the article in full…

==================================

These articles were published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [66]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Nov 14 2014 17:23:52 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hello there, badgers,

Welcome to the Badger Beats! Here’s a quick run-down of what’s been going on this week:

Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll catch up with you on Monday!

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 12, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 13 2014 21:40:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 12, 2014:

Speaker:

  • Carey Hamburg, University of Louisiana at Lafayette & Lousiana State University

Agenda:

Carey works in the office of Distance Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where they have developed a badge system for their online faculty training program. He is also conducting his doctoral research on digital badges at Louisiana State University, looking at the group of online instructors to see what their perceptions of badges are, and whether they’re at a stage of adoption that would indicate readiness for larger certification programs to make use of badges.

Carey has been encouraged by his graduate committee to look at badging from the viewpoint of the organizations that recruit and hire the instructors that go through the online training. Their reasoning is: regardless of how enthusiastic instructors are about badging, if there aren’t long-term benefits to their careers and job opportunities, a badging system won’t be utilized as much. Conversely, if hiring agents start using - and expecting - badges to play a role in their decisions, then instructors will be increasingly drawn to badged programs. Carey has found little research or commentary on these hypotheses, though he thinks they are correct. He presented his research to the community with a set of questions he was looking to address:

1. What organizations are using badges as part of their hiring process? Are there some case studies already?

The Badge Alliance Workforce Working Group curated a list of examples of open badges and digital badges in the workforce, including early adopters such as Stack Overflow / Careers 2.0, the Manufacturing Institute, and Michigan Mblem badges. If you know of more, add them to the list!

2. What are inhibitors that prevent the adoption (lack of knowledge, lack of trust, “info overload” - etc.)

A lack of awareness and/or knowledge of badges is often the first barrier to adoption within the workforce, as well as concerns about verification and security of badge metadata, and reticence towards trusting a credential within an open ecosystem. Employers often ask specifically about what we call ‘badge overload,’ worrying about how to differentiate between different badges for the same skills and competencies and the time and resources needed to verify multiple badges per job candidate.

Other inhibitors preventing widespread adoption of badges within the workforce include a lack of common skills frameworks across industries, and a lack of technical support (particularly within smaller organizations).

3. How would hiring agents learn about badges and how to interpret and evaluate them? Is there some training available for this new evaluation tool? If not, should there be?

The Workforce Working Group also developed an Employer FAQ and an Employer Tutorial for badges during Cycle 1, both of which was designed to familiarize employers with badges and the processes needed to assess and evaluate them.

The community raised an important question during the call: is an applicant who has earned badges a useful introduction to badges employers? Ideally, employers and hiring managers would have at least a basic understanding of badges before encountering a badge collection from a job applicant. As Carla Casilli pointed out during our discussion, much of our work has been focused on pushing badges from education out into the workforce. Now we need to focus more of our efforts on pushing badges from the workforce back into education, where employers recognize their need for a better way to evaluate applicants, adopt badges, and institutions of higher education start scaffolding programs around badges based on workforce requirements.

4. How could badges fit in with more traditional credentials and resume applications? As a supplement, or eventually replace other methods?

This question has been addressed more from an education perspective than from the workforce. For example, UC Davis and other institutions of higher education are using badges as a supplement to traditionally graded programs. Others are pushing the envelope, such as Dr. Bernard Bull at Concordia University Wisconsin, who has developed a master’s program in education technology based entirely on competency-based digital badges. As more educational bodies and institutions start to explore and adopt badges, we will see whether the trend is towards using badges as a supplement to or a substitute for traditional assessment and credentialing methods.

Contribute to this work!

If you have research or use cases relevant to the above questions, check out the call notes and email Carey with information you think might be useful to his ongoing work.

You can also join the conversation in the Open Badges Community Google Group or on Twitter by using the hashtag #openbadges.

Sunny Lee | The Open Badges Directory → Laying the foundation for cool open badges applications

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 13 2014 18:44:07 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Read the original post here.

**********************************************************************************

As open badges continues to gain a foothold in the world of digital credentialing and skills recognition, more and more folks have expressed interest in accessing a list of all the earnable open badges out in the wild. Earners, issuers and employers alike want to see the various badges available to earn based on certain search parameters, find out how to earn them and be directed to the appropriate places to dive deeper and start learning and earning.

One thing that the ecosystem was clearly in need of was a directory service that cataloged and listed all the open badges in the ecosystem with APIs that would enable other organizations to build cool applications on top, such as a badge-based pathway generator, an employer tool that facilitates connections with earners of certain badges, a badge or pathway discovery engine, etc.

In response, the Open Badges Directory Working Group was formed to precisely dedicate itself to prototyping this much-needed directory offering.

*** n.b. The documentation for the Open Badges directory can be found here: http://directory.openbadges.org and examples of it in use can be seen here: http://directory.openbadges.org/examples/browser/#/recent and here: http://achievery.com/discover.

image

In Cycle 1 of the Working Group, we had to figure out the scope of the project we wanted to tackle. The following were some of the questions we needed to answer to determine the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) feature set.

  • What are we listing?

  • What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers?

  • Where does the directory end and other potential 3rd party services begin?

I’ll share the line of reasoning we went through and where we netted out with each of these questions below.

What are we listing?

This seems like a simple question but actually is a bit more layered. This has to do with the way in which Open Badges technology is set up. The fundamental building block in the badging ecosystem is the assertion. The assertion describes 3 things;

  • who a badge was awarded to

  • what that badge represents —>  Badge Class

  • who issued the badge —> Issuer Organization

The assertion essentially ties all these 3 different pieces together in a unique badge instance that is tied to a specific badge earner.

*** n.b. More information can be found in this wiki guide written by Sue Smith.

In that case, what do we list?

  • Badge Instances that tie a badge class to an earner?

  • A general Badge Class that explains the badge?

  • Or do we also include issuer information in the directory too?

While there’s a case to be made for all three options, we decided that the MVP of the badge directory will simply list the Badge Class to start, with Badge Instance and potentially Issuer Organization as subsequent additions. This was because, while listing Badge Classes, depending on method of implementation, has a dependency on the Issuing organization, listing Badge Instances has a dependency on the Earner to make the badges they earn, public. We thought the latter was a bigger initial barrier that the directory would have to overcome as opposed to working with the issuers.

What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers? What does the badge issuing organization need to do in order to be a part of the directory?

This question presented us with a few options as well:

  1. Crawl the open web and look for the open badges assertion file type, automating the listing process for the issuer: While this option eliminates the barrier to entry for issuers, it is a resource intensive and expensive undertaking as the crawler would have to scour millions of IP addresses looking for certain file types. This didn’t seem like the right approach for the initial MVP.

  2. Issuers register their badge classes with the directory and provide the paths to where their badges are stored: This is the least developmentally intensive process but at the same time we are dependent on issuers to come to us and register their badges. The barrier to entry for issuers is put in place and we must provide them with a value proposition to register themselves and their badges.

  3. Issuers only register themselves and a simple crawler would know what domains and IPs to crawl: This is a bit of a hybrid solution of the above 2, utilizing crawling with minimal issuer cooperation. Even so, without a robust value proposition presented to issuers, we still have to reckon with the initial barrier of registration that they must overcome.

We opted for Option 2 in this initial iteration because it provided us with an opportunity to work collaboratively with the issuers in the ecosystem to highlight their badges and proof of concept the directory to a broader audience. Not only that, it saved us from overexpending our technical and development resources which would have been the case if we opted for Option 1.

However, we have seen rather slow responses from issuing organizations who want to register. We are in the process of evaluating the barrier(s) to entry, as well as the value proposition for issuers, in order to figure out next steps.

Where does the directory end and other potential third party services begin?

It’s easy to get excited about a directory offering because of its potential. Say I’m a learner and I want to find out what badges are out there that I can earn that will make me more competitive in the job market. I hear user experience design is a growing field, so I go to the directory, input a few keywords like ‘UX’, ‘user experience’, and ‘UI’ to see the list of badges in the ecosystem related to my search. What next? Does the directory offer me a cool UI with a list of various badge pathways around user experience design I can tackle? Can I save or favorite the badges presented so I can come back to them later?

What level of end-user experience will the directory enable? Are the cool, personalized experiences mentioned above, something an application on top of the directory creates while the directory is simply providing the service of listing open badges with some search and filtering?

Is there an end-user interfacing component to the directory at all or should it simply be a list of APIs for developers?

We all agree the API component of the directory will be critical for encouraging application development, but at the same time, we felt we needed some level of a UI to help folks understand and grasp the fundamental concept behind the directory. As such, what we ended up creating is a simple user interface that lists all badges with basic search and filter capability but nothing beyond that for now.

*** n.b. The API Explorer illustrates how the API works.

==========================

Having released this initial MVP that provides the broader ecosystem with a production beta version, we’re eager to continue development of the directory. Focus areas include the listing of badge instances in addition to badge classes, additional API endpoints, and exploring ways in which we can lower the barrier of entry while clearly articulating the value proposition for badge issuers.

There is still a lot more work left to do to have a full functioning directory product. But the prototype is a strong proof of concept and has taught us a ton. Needless to say, none of this could’ve been possible without the leadership, dedication and hard work of Kerri Lemoie from Achievery.

While Cycle 1 has ended, we still have an active mailing list, so please join the conversation!

The Open Badges Directory → Laying the foundation for cool open badges applications

Sunny Lee

Thu Nov 13 2014 18:30:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

As open badges continues to gain a foothold in the world of digital credentialing and skills recognition, more and more folks have expressed interest in accessing a list of all the earnable open badges out in the wild. Earners, issuers and employers alike want to see the various badges available to earn based on certain search parameters, find out how to earn them and be directed to the appropriate places to dive deeper and start learning and earning.

One thing that the ecosystem was clearly in need of was a directory service that catalogued and listed all the open badges in the ecosystem with APIs that would enable other organizations to build cool applications on top, such as a badge-based pathway generator, an employer tool that facilitates connections with earners of certain badges, a badge or pathway discovery engine, etc.

In response, the Open Badges Directory Working Group was formed to precisely dedicate itself to prototyping this much-needed directory offering.

*** n.b. The documentation for the Open Badges directory can be found here: http://directory.openbadges.org and examples of it in use can be seen here: http://directory.openbadges.org/examples/browser/#/recent and here: http://achievery.com/discover.

In Cycle 1 of the Working Group, we had to figure out the scope of the project we wanted to tackle. The following were some of the questions we needed to answer to determine the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) feature set.

  • What are we listing?

  • What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers?

  • Where does the directory end and other potential 3rd party services begin?

I’ll share the line of reasoning we went through and where we netted out with each of these questions below.

What are we listing?

This seems like a simple question but actually is a bit more layered. This has to do with the way in which Open Badges technology is set up. The fundamental building block in the badging ecosystem is the assertion. The assertion describes 3 things;

  • who a badge was awarded to

  • what that badge represents —>  Badge Class

  • who issued the badge —> Issuer Organization

The assertion essentially ties all these 3 different pieces together in a unique badge instance that is tied to a specific badge earner.

*** n.b. More information can be found in this wiki guide written by Sue Smith: https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges/wiki/Assertion-Information-for-the-Uninitiated

In that case, what do we list?

  • Badge Instances that tie a badge class to an earner?

  • A general Badge Class that explains the badge?

  • Or do we also include issuer information in the directory too?

While there’s a case to be made for all three options, we decided that the MVP of the badge directory will simply list the Badge Class to start, with Badge Instance and potentially Issuer Organization as subsequent additions. This was because, while listing Badge Classes, depending on method of implementation, has a dependency on the Issuing organization, listing Badge Instances has a dependency on the Earner to make the badges they earn, public. We thought the latter was a bigger initial barrier that the directory would have to overcome as opposed to working with the issuers.

What is the barrier to entry for badge issuers? What does the badge issuing organization need to do in order to be a part of the directory?

This question presented us with a few options as well:

  1. Crawl the open web and look for the open badges assertion file type, automating the listing process for the issuer: While this option eliminates the barrier to entry for issuers, it is a resource intensive and expensive undertaking as the crawler would have to scour millions of IP addresses looking for certain file types. This didn’t seem like the right approach for the initial MVP.

  2. Issuers register their badge classes with the directory and provide the paths to where their badges are stored: This is the least developmentally intensive process but at the same time we are dependent on issuers to come to us and register their badges. The barrier to entry for issuers is put in place and we must provide them with a value proposition to register themselves and their badges.

  3. Issuers only register themselves and a simple crawler would know what domains and IPs to crawl: This is a bit of a hybrid solution of the above 2, utilizing crawling with minimal issuer cooperation. Even so, without a robust value proposition presented to issuers, we still have to reckon with the initial barrier of registration that they must overcome.

We opted for Option 2 in this initial iteration because it provided us with an opportunity to work collaboratively with the issuers in the ecosystem to highlight their badges and proof of concept the directory to a broader audience. Not only that, it saved us from overexpending our technical and development resources which would have been the case if we opted for Option 1.

However, we have seen rather slow responses from issuing organizations who want to register. We are in the process of evaluating the barrier(s) to entry, as well as the value proposition for issuers, in order to figure out next steps.

Where does the directory end and other potential third party services begin?

It’s easy to get excited about a directory offering because of its potential. Say I’m a learner and I want to find out what badges are out there that I can earn that will make me more competitive in the job market. I hear user experience design is a growing field, so I go to the directory, input a few keywords like ‘UX’, ‘user experience’, and ‘UI’ to see the list of badges in the ecosystem related to my search. What next? Does the directory offer me a cool UI with a list of various badge pathways around user experience design I can tackle? Can I save or favorite the badges presented so I can come back to them later?

What level of end-user experience will the directory enable? Are the cool, personalized experiences mentioned above, something an application on top of the directory creates while the directory is simply providing the service of listing open badges with some search and filtering?

Is there an end-user interfacing component to the directory at all or should it simply be a list of APIs for developers?

We all agree the API component of the directory will be critical for encouraging application development, but at the same time, we felt we needed some level of a UI to help folks understand and grasp the fundamental concept behind the directory. As such, what we ended up creating is a simple user interface that lists all badges with basic search and filter capability but nothing beyond that for now.

*** n.b. The API Explorer illustrates how the API works.

==========================

Having released this initial MVP that provides the broader ecosystem with a production beta version, we’re eager to continue development of the directory. Focus areas include the listing of badge instances in addition to badge classes, additional API endpoints, and exploring ways in which we can lower the barrier of entry while clearly articulating the value proposition for badge issuers.

There is still a lot more work left to do to have a full functioning directory product. But the prototype is a strong proof of concept and has taught us a ton. Needless to say, none of this could’ve been possible without the leadership, dedication and hard work of Kerri Lemoie from Achievery.

While Cycle 1 has ended, we still have an active mailing list, so please join the conversation!

 

#openbadgesMOOC Session 13: Policy Matters That Affect Open Badges

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 13 2014 16:38:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 13: Policy Matters

Session Recording: coming soon!

This week, Anne Derryberry put forth the community-developed framework for developing institutional open badges policies which she participated in authoring as part of the Badge Alliance’s Policy Working Group. In addition, Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Policy Analyst in the Education Policy Program at New America, presented a number of policy discussions occurring at the federal level within the U.S.

Why We Need An Institutional Policy Framework

Educational institutions around the world are exploring Open Badges for teaching and learning. The purpose of the Campus Policy Framework document is to inform the development of badge policies in higher education and to highlight important issues and areas for consideration, such as assessment, transcripting and publishing, intellectual property, privacy, and ethical / legal issues.

Policy is a broad area that can significantly impact badge uptake and effectiveness within postsecondary education. It includes institutional legal obligations, rights, ownership, federal and state government requirements, and local government regulations.

Peruse the document here: http://bit.ly/CampusPolicyBadges

Federal Policy Issues

Badges are part of a larger conversation around the need for more competency-based assessment and credentials at the federal level. That conversation is driven by three guiding principles, according to Mary Alice McCarthy: driving quality; ensuring equity; and protecting consumers and taxpayers.

image

A number of groups and organizations are conducting research into postsecondary education, assessment and credentials which could play a role in building support for open badges:

  • The Interagency Working Group on Expanded Measures of Enrollment and Attainment (GEMEnA) works to develop and validate national measures related to the participation in and credentialing of education and training for work (including work-readiness training, industry-recognized certifications, occupational licenses, and educational certificates), and to build government-wide consensus for the adoption of these measures in key federal data collections.
  • The Experimental Sites Initiative gives Congress a way to see how policies might work before they are implemented on a larger scale, hopefully mitigating unintended consequences, and could allow small groups to test badges before national policies are developed.
  • Other pilot programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Perkins might allow for research and exploration of badging programs before a large-scale policy implementation.

The Higher Education Academy also offers opportunities for investigating the potential benefits of open badges in higher education, as their focus is on securing support for competency-based education approaches and addressing quality assurance issues with non-traditional credentials.

McCarthy closed her presentation by reminding attendees that federal support of open badges will hinge upon the risks of creating a federal badging policy, and whether can the badging community can help policymakers see the relationship between technology and better credentials. The continuing work of the open badges community in key areas such as policy, higher education and workforce will be increasingly important as major players in the federal and regional policy landscape start to investigate the potential uses for open badges in postsecondary education.

What do you think? Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #openbadgesMOOC

*********************************************

We look forward to continuing this course with you! See below for details of the next session.

Go to http://badges.coursesites.com/ to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.

*********************************************

Future sessions:

Monday, Dec. 8, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Review - Sunny Lee and Jade Forester

New Digitial Badges Report from the Alliance for Excellent Education

Re-mediating Assessment

Mon Nov 10 2014 20:06:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

By Gina Howard and James Willis 

We are excited to share our recent recognition on the first page of the new Alliance for Excellent Education report, Digital Badge Systems: The Promise and Potential by Kamila Thigpen. The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national organization that focuses on ensuring all students have an equal opportunity at graduating from high school and having the necessary preparation to succeed in college, work, and citizenship. Based out of Washington, DC, the organization focuses on developing and implementing federal and national policies that, “support effective high school reform and increased student achievement and attainment.”


Read more »

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [65]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Nov 07 2014 14:47:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy Friday!

There’s been a lot going on this week - our team and community have been presenting at the AECT 2014 Annual Convention, Open Ed Conference and iNACOL Symposium, while others have been wrapping up their MozFest activities and more are preparing to present at Deakin University’s National Forum.

Here’s a summary of some of the other great stuff that happened this week:

March of the Robots delivered activities and workshops for thousands of people in Leeds in the UK, as well as hanging out at MozFest with us. Read more on the Digital Me blog!

Here are some great shots of the CubeBot in action with the kids on the badges floor:

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Open Badges Community Project Call, Nov. 5, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Nov 06 2014 16:58:08 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, Nov. 5, 2014:

Speakers:

Agenda: http://bit.ly/CC-Nov5

This week we heard from community members in three different countries - it’s great to see these community calls going truly global. Dr. Devedzic and his colleague Dr. Jelena Jovanovic presented on the October 15th community call on their GRASS (grading soft skills) project based in Estonia. He joined us again this week to share his experiences from the Belgrade Job Fair, where he and another colleague gave an Open Badges presentation to a group of employers and students (primarily from technical fields).

Introducing European students and employers to badges

Badges are still relatively new in Serbia, as in much of Europe. Dr. Devedzic reported that students’ reactions were mostly positive, whereas employers were generally more cautious. Employers had to be approached “with more care” and Dr. Devedzic believes that ongoing efforts to raise awareness and introduce employers to examples of badges being used in the workplace will encourage acceptance and adoption.

Students were interested to learn more about badge validity, trusted issuers, issuing criteria, validity of evidence, and the number of badges earned - questions many of us are familiar with when introducing badges to new audiences. Employers also asked about the potential to forge badges, as well as the sustainability of the concept in the long term, and some expressed reluctance to the idea overall. There were also concerns about candidates coming to them with hundreds of badges, before badge collections and sharing options were explained.

In a region where personal connections often open more doors than skills sharing, Dr. Devedzic argues “a greater campaign is necessary in order to make employers here aware of the benefits of badges.” Ongoing contact with employers will be important as awareness and adoption of badges spreads throughout Europe. There is another big promotional event in Belgrade scheduled for the spring of 2015, where Dr. Devedzic has been invited to talk about Open Badges - we look forward to hearing more updates after that.

To learn more about the GRASS Project that Dr. Devedzic and Dr. Jovanovic are leading, go to https://sites.google.com/site/llpgrassproject/

Badging conversations with Dr. Dan Hickey & Dr. James Willis

In the hour before Wednesday’s community call, Dan and James led a discussion on how major learning management systems are incorporating digital badges, the entrepreneurial and university-based support system emerging around this new feature, and examples of badge-induced transformation and disruption. Learn more here.

Dan Hickey’s team developed a modest initial badging integration for Open edX, and are planning to figure out how to build the functionality into downloadable instances for future uses, working towards making it possible for anyone using it to issue badges using the platform.

Here is a blog post on Dan Hickey’s musings about scaling up badge systems from a non-technologists perspective : http://remediatingassessment.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-design-knowledge-evaporation.html

Next week, Dan will be presenting in Australia at the Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence National Forum being held at Deakin University and then the Open edX Conference in Boston, Mass.

Learn more about Indiana University’s COIL (Center for Online Learning and Innovation) here: http://coil.psu.edu

Badges for Digital Leaders in the UK

Educators in the UK have been working to recognize youth digital leaders using badges, based on an open framework for skills and knowledge for digital leadership.

Chris Sharples worked with Digital Me’s Tim Riches and Lucy Neale, as well as the team at Makewaves, to develop levels of Digital Leader Badges. Chris has awarded badges to 25 digital leaders in his North Yorkshire school, and has found that the primary challenge facing schools working to award badges to students is that IT staff are often very busy and don’t have the resources to maintain and monitor the badging process.

Chris has kept an ongoing record of the work being done on his blog: http://www.gr8ict.com/digitalleaders/

There is also a weekly #dlchat Twitter conversation held every Thursday at 4pm EST / 9pm GMT. In October, our Marketing + Community Manager Jade Forester led a badges-themed chat, and we’d love to get more members of the badging community involved in a future Twitter chat. Contact Jade if you’d like to join!

Upcoming Badges Webinars from Pearson

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Nov 05 2014 19:00:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Pearson have announced some interesting Open Badges webinars for college administrators and faculty, as well as non-profits and corporations.

See below for details and registration links, and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #pearsonlearn

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Exploring Open Badges

Open badges allow academic institutions, corporations, and associations to recognize the resume–worthy achievements of students and employees in a way that can be easily verified and shared online. This month we take a look at open badges and the impact they can have on the pathway from college to career.

From Colleges to Careers: Sharing Competencies through Open Badges

Fast Track to Valuable Badges: Connecting Learning to Jobs

Exploring Badges: A New Method to Recognize Professional Credentials

  • Date: Nov. 17
  • Time: 12pm PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT
  • Who it’s for: Learning leaders at corporations, associations, and non–profit organizations, and those interested in how badges are being used in the professional and training industry
  • Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/503361504

The "Design Knowledge Evaporation Problem" and the Design of Complex Digital Badge Systems

Re-mediating Assessment

Mon Nov 03 2014 18:15:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

By Dan Hickey
I am crunching out the final report of the Open Badges Design Principles Document Program and it pushed me to dig more deeply into the research on "knowledge evaporation" in the design of complex software architectures.  It makes me wonder if current efforts to build badges into the larger, more complex learning management systems are about to run into the wall that complex software systems always run into.
Read more »

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [64]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sun Nov 02 2014 17:15:32 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Welcome to the Badger Beats!

Here’s what we got up to this week:

We’ll leave you with this vine that Steve Lonn put together at MozFest:

See you next week, everyone!

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 29 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Nov 01 2014 11:27:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, October 29 2014:

Catch up on last Wednesday’s community project call where a few of us reported out from the Mozilla Festival.

EDUZILLA: Covering Education & Badges at MozFest

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Oct 31 2014 17:23:27 GMT+0000 (UTC)

EDUZILLA: Covering Education & Badges at MozFest:

I think Open Badges and other digital qualifications…are a fantastic idea, especially in developing areas where formal education can be hard to access.

“Badges are a great idea but they need to explode

Check out Eduzilla for MozFest coverage, including a post on Open Badges and Think Big.

Here’s a great little vine that Steve Lonn made of the Open Badges Lab den at MozFest last...

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Oct 31 2014 17:18:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Here’s a great little vine that Steve Lonn made of the Open Badges Lab den at MozFest last weekend:

We’ve got some pictures on Twitter too, check them out below:

To learn more about the amazing den building work Chris Harman does, check out denbuilding.co.uk

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [63]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Oct 25 2014 14:09:29 GMT+0000 (UTC)

We hope everyone’s having a great weekend - whether you’re at home or enjoying the revelry of MozFest!

Here’s a quick run-down of the week:

  • On Monday, James Willis presented in a live session of the Open Badges MOOC - a summary is available here;

  • Academic Partnerships (UNESCO) released a Guide to Quality in Non-Traditional Online Higher Education, which explored the challenges facing badge value;

  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently released open-source gamification software to GitHub, issuing open badges as user rewards;
  • Michelle Weise wrote a piece on “the real revolution in online education,” with a focus on competency-based learning. Dive into the discussion in the comments section! Here’s a couple of lines from the post that makes us think badges:

"Data is confirming what we already know: recruiting is an imprecise activity, and degrees don’t communicate much about a candidate’s potential and fit. Employers need to know what a student knows and can do.

  • Check out the Canadian Digital Badges Initiative (CDBI), exploring how badges can be used on a broad scale in training, training tracking and certification / accreditation in Canada;
  • There’s another new badging community forming in Europe, whose aim is to create and Open Badge for Nordic adult educators - learn more on their blog;

  • And of course - MozFest! The Open Knowledge Foundation blog has a great feature on one of the new tracks for 2014, Community Building, and there’s plenty of action happening on all the tracks. Go to  to find out how to participate remotely.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! See you all on Monday….

Open Badges at the Mozilla Festival

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Oct 25 2014 13:47:54 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges at the Mozilla Festival:

Sunny, Carla and Jade are hanging out in London this weekend with the wonderful folks from Digital Me, as well as representatives from Think Big, iDEA Award, Makewaves, Badge Europe and more!

Follow @mozillafestival and #MozFest on Twitter to see what’s been going on. If you aren’t in London and want to participate remotely, check out 2014.mozillafestival.org/remote/

#openbadgesMOOC Session 12 - Design Principles Documentation Project / Open edX and Beyond Project

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Oct 22 2014 14:53:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials
Session 12: Design Principles Documentation Project / Open edX and Beyond Project
Session Recording: http://bit.ly/OBmooc12

James E. Willis, III, Ph.D. is a research associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University’s School of Education working with Dan Hickey and his research team on their digital badges projects, the Design Principles Documentation Project and the recently launched Open edX and Beyond project.

Open Badges Design Principles Documentation

In the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition, 30 organizations were funded to develop ecosystems for open digital badges. Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology has studied the development, implementation, and practice of badging within the scope of recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning.

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The research team analyzed project proposals and then conducted interviews as projects got underway and after the development period was over. This resulted in a forthcoming report and open database detailing intended practices (ideas outlined in general proposals), enacted practices (intentions unfolding in the world), and formal practices (what continues after funding ends) for using digital badges, with particular attention on the factors that supported the formalization of some practices while hindering others.

5 Buckets for Badge System Design

Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking at DML/HASTAC, defined five classes or ‘buckets’ for badge system design based on the same 30 badge projects from the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition - read more on the HASTAC blog.

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Here are Sheryl’s five badge system classes:

      • New build. The badge system, learning content, and technological platforms are designed simultaneously.
      • Integrated build. The badge system and learning content are co-created and integrated into a pre-existing technological platform.
      • Layered build. The badge system is layered on top of pre-existing learning content and pre-existing technological platform.
      • Responsive build. The badge system responds to pre-existing learning content, and the technological platform does not yet exist, is optional, or is distributed.
      • Badge-first build. The badges are designed first and the learning content and technological platform are designed around the badges.

Sheryl identified a badge system as being comprised of three components: technology, learning content, and the badges themselves. Each of the five badge system classes starts with and requires a combination of these components, as shown in the table above.

The DPD Project team looked at the 30 badging projects, first identifying which bucket each system fell into, then looking at various levels of progress or status (including implementation, ecosystem and badges) and found the layered and responsive badge systems were more successful than the other three:

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The team also looked more deeply at the various badge system proposals within each of the 30 projects, looking at the various practices that were formalized, proposed but not enacted, and unproposed but introduced. James Willis provided an overview of these for a handful of projects, including YALSA, UC Davis, Who Built America, and Badges for Vets:

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The team’s general findings included:

      • Digital badges are different to what many are used to - and open digital badges are even more different - so there were lots of new things to learn and adjust to;
      • Claims and evidence are hard to define, and many of the projects struggled to define either or both of these;
      • Information circulates within social networks - validity gets crowd-sourced;
      • COPPA, FERPA and other legal constraints worried many initiatives;
      • It’s not just about the badges: those that tried to build an ecosystem from scratch around badges weren’t as successful as those that integrated badges into existing learning systems;

Over the years we’ve heard a number of presentations on this work from Dan Hickey and Nate Otto on the Open Badges Community Calls, so it was great to see their findings presented by James on Monday. For anyone looking into building a badge system, this research will prove invaluable!

For more details on the other projects the team looked at, check out James’ slide deck.

For more information on the DPD Project, visit http://dpdproject.info/

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Open edX and Beyond

To support widespread innovation around open digital badges in higher education, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University is working with IBL Studios, Inc. and Achievery to offer open badges in Open edX. The project is currently building badges into Lorena Barba’s Open edX MOOC, Practical Numerical Methods with Python.

When Professor Barba realized that Open edX requires authentication, she proposed the badges link directly to Github, where students will be working. This may be the first time badges have used direct links to Github as evidence, so we’re excited to see how this works as the course progresses. A series of badges should be available by mid-November, with seamless badge integration by spring 2015.image

Building badges into Open edX has presented a number of technical and pedagogical challenges and opportunities for the team:

      • Finding the ‘seams’ in Open edX coding to build a badges API connection;
      • Assuring individual identity verification and management;
      • Keeping open materials within the evidence of outcomes;
      • Assessing student progress in specific, cumulative skills learned;
      • Aligning outcomes for replication in future edX and Open edX MOOCs

Ongoing goals for the team at Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology include facilitating further widespread use of digital badges in higher education - to more hybrid and standalone courses, across multiple platforms, and for faculty and staff learning. They also plan to publish their findings from this and ongoing projects, sharing their notes, challenges and results for future opportunities.

Learn more about the Open edX and Beyond project on Dan Hickey’s blog.

*********************************************

We look forward to continuing this course with you! See below for details of the next session.

Go to http://badges.coursesites.com/ to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.

*********************************************

Future sessions:

Monday, Nov. 10, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Policy - Anne Derryberry
Monday, Dec. 8, 2-3pm ET:
Open Badges Review - Sunny Lee and Jade Forester

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [62]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Oct 17 2014 19:39:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

This week we’ve been celebrating our successes from Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Groups, taking a look at all the great things we’ve accomplished together over the past six months.

Check out this blog post on the BA blog for an in-depth look at the community’s achievements. You can also see an infographic overview of Cycle 1.

Here’s what else happened this week:

  • In the UK, the Duke of York announced the winners of the youth-focused digital enterprise iDEA award - and Digital Me’s Tim and Lucy were snapped at Buckingham Palace during the event!

Thank you to everyone in our community who has helped us move the badging work forward this year with the Badge Alliance Working Groups - we are so proud to be working within such a dedicated network.

Give yourselves a big high-five for everything you’ve accomplished!

Celebrating our Successes: Cycle 1 Infographic

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Oct 17 2014 16:38:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

As you may have seen yesterday, we shared an in-depth look at the many accomplishments from Cycle 1 of the Badge Alliance Working Groups over on the BA blog (here).

We wanted to take a moment to share this fun infographic with you as well, which provides a great visual overview of the contributions you made to the global badging ecosystem over the past six months (click for larger version):

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If you’re as psyched about this as we are, why not share the excitement by spreading the word through your social and professional networks? We’ll certainly be doing so! To get you started, we’ve put together some sample posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other sites:

  • Check out the amazing things we accomplished this year as part of the @badgealliance Working Groups: bit.ly/BA-Infographic #openbadges

  • I contributed to the growth of the #openbadges ecosystem with the @badgealliance network: bit.ly/BA-Infographic

  • Thanks to all who’ve worked with the @badgealliance to deliver #openbadges ideas, code, documents, and more in Cycle 1: bit.ly/BA-Infographic

If you’d like your Tweets to link to the full blog post, replace the link to the infographic with the following: bit.ly/BA-Cycle1

Quantifying Success

Erin Knight

Wed Oct 15 2014 16:52:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

I think most of us would agree that the badging work has come along way generally. And yet, in many cases, it’s a feeling or some anecdotes. It’s a hard thing to quantify.

I’ve also certainly experienced several palpable shifts in the conversation - from the “what if” conversations in the first year, to the “ok, we get it, what now”, to now a surge of “how”. But again that’s mostly subjective and based on each of our own experiences.

Some things are a bit more obvious. In 2010 and 2011, if you dropped in on a community call, you’d see the same 10-15 usual suspects, all digging in to important early issues like defining the standard. Now that call (still going 4 years later!) has featured hundreds of new voices, representing every imaginable type of organization, audience and perspective. 

Another measure of growth is the number of organizations issuing badges and badges issued. I remember when we celebrated 100 issuers and 1000 badges in June 2011, and now we have close to 3000 issuers and over 250,000 badges in Mozilla Backpacks. But even that doesn’t truly represent the full ecosystem because we can only directly measure issuers using the Mozilla issuer API and the Mozilla Backpacks. All of the platform providers out there have their own numbers. The best we can estimate is that there are over 13,000 issuers and millions of badges. We expect to have over 4M earners by the end of 2014, and 10M by 2016. Those numbers require estimates and contributions from every issuer out there in the ecosystem, yet are undeniably a sign of progress. 

Another number that I feel is important to consider is the average number of badges per earner. You could argue that one badge might be enough to get someone a job or reach their goals, but for me, the vision is that badges can be a comprehensive representation of you. That means you need badges to represent all the skills, interests, affiliations, experiences, etc. that truly represent who you are and what you can do. 

Again, the only data we have to work with are the numbers from the Mozilla Backpacks. There are over 70K unique Backpacks, and a little under half of those (32K) have only 1 badge in them. The other 38K Backpacks on average, have 5.7 badges in them. That means over 50% are well on their way to building a solid collection, a comprehensive representation. That to me is an exciting sign.

Quantifying our success is hard, but we do have some proof of progress.

And I think we can do better. We owe it to ourselves, to the learners, to find ways to more accurately understand what’s working and what’s not. That will need to involve more formal and regular contributions from organizations across the network, but we’re doing pretty well finding ways to collaborate so far, and this feels like an important one to keep up our track record for. I think it will also involve ways to feed usage data back into the system - what badges were used for which jobs, etc. These are not easy problems to solve, but if we can get there, abstract/obtuse concepts like success, or even validation and accreditation, get a whole lot easier to see and understand.

I’d like to be in a place in a year from now when we’ve got quantifiable metrics of success as a network, and some easy way to reliably collect that data across the network, and regularly check in on those numbers. If you have ideas, or want to help, shoot me a note.

-E