Beyond motivation: Ensuring the validity of digital badges in Higher Education

Garvey, Roisin (2021) Beyond motivation: Ensuring the validity of digital badges in Higher Education.


Rapidly evolving industries are amongst the drivers of increased demand for a wider range of skills and experiences that can often be difficult to represent, particularly for recent graduates or those returning to the workforce. Digital badges, or micro-credentials, provide a means of recognising or evidencing an increasingly wide range of learning activities, in a more granular, flexible way than traditional accredited learning. They offer learners the opportunity to provide a holistic view of their skills and accomplishments and build on these achievements with a succinct and valid visual acknowledgement of a range of formal, informal and non formal activities.

Digital badges, at a basic level, are linked to the ongoing trend of gamification and much of the use of digital badges focuses on their ability to motivate and engage learners to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. To ensure the value of digital badges however, particularly to industry, some effort needs to be placed in developing an effective and sustainable evidence-based badging ecosystem as the provision of badges simply based on attendance, for instance, would undercut the value of the system and the digital badges themselves.

This presentation will offer some of the considerations made when designing a badging system for a Higher Education institute. In addition, it will provide an overview of the implementation process taken when designing digital badges for select institute activities and projects, ensuring that learners have a mechanism to evidence their efforts and achievements in a credible way.

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