Digital and open badge systems validate both formal and informal learning. They encourage learners to follow a personal path of learning. I believe badges are powerful in that they capture and validate the learning that is achieved using non-traditional pathways to learning. What +Verena Roberts refers to as "Mastery of Passions". This is very important and beneficial for learners who are increasingly self-directing their learning and turning to the Internet to learn about what interests them. This type of non traditional learning has been, for the most part, unrecognized and untapped by potential employers and others charged with the task of reviewing credentials. With badges, learners can now document non traditional learning for potential employers. Recognizing this informal learning is motivating for the learner because their learning is validated. It has meaning and is recognized by others.
Badges are motivating to all learners because they can provide immediate feedback at all stages of learning. The hierarchy of awarding badges requires much thought and consideration by the designer of the learning opportunity that offers the badges. As badges are new to the educational setting, much thought and discussion surrounds the criteria in developing badges.
Badges, as a system for assessing skills and knowledge, supports learning in and out of the classroom. Badges support self-directed learning and promote life-long learning. Through my interactions with this week's learning materials, I earned the Mozilla 101 Badge. I encourage you to learn about badges and go to openbadges.org to earn your first badge.
This week DLMOOC week 7 discussed deeper learning assessments. I think, similar to badges, traditional assessments should be created to provide feedback at all stages of learning, not just at its finale. Feedback and assessment are most helpful when it is meaningful and relevant to students when it is integrated in the learning process. Once a task is completed, it loses meaning for the student who doesn't care about a grade. It is the iterations and process of review and assessment during learning that will help students produce quality work. This is assessment for deeper learning and it is the process that I want my students to practice and use.
Similar to badges, assessments should be more student centered. In addition to project based learning tasks that are meaningful and relevant to students, the process of assessment should also be engaging and meaningful to students. Student centered assessment include self-assessment and peer-assessment. These are two powerful ways to have students take a more active role in their learning. Reflection is a key component of meaningful assessment that leads to deeper learning. Students who reflect on their work can more readily internalize what they did right and how they can improve. This reflection process in assessment will promote student agency and is a soft-skill that will help students in their journey of life-long learning.
Here is a storify of resources I found about badges and assessments that lead to deeper learning.