Open Badges: A record of achievement or a childish gimmick?

This week’s post comes from Ross Garner, #chat2lrn crew member, Online Instructional Designer at GoodPractice and Digital Education student at the University of Edinburgh. Find him on Twitter @RossGarnerGP.

Badges have been used to signal identity and demonstrate achievement for thousands of years. Examples of the former include battle scars, flags and charity pins. Of the later, we’ve seen military medals, Scout badges and, more recently, online badges.

But are online badges here to stay or are they just a passing fad?


“There must be an easier way to demonstrate achievement!”

Proponents of online badges, particularly supporters of Mozilla’s Open Badges technical standard, claim that they are a way to recognise the informal learning that takes place throughout our careers. They are an alternative to formal education, which takes time, and an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of soft skills like teamwork and collaboration.

Detractors, however, argue that they are a gimmick, easily forged, childish and mostly unrecognised by employers.

There are, of course, examples that support both camps, but what does the future hold? Will badges become a globally recognised record of our achievements? Or exiled to a dusty corner of the internet, home to collectors and hobbyists?

This week, you’re invited to share your views with the #chat2lrn community!

Join us for #Chat2lrn this Thursday, December 15th 8:00am PDT/11:00am EDT/4:00pm GMT to discuss.

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