This morning I was talking to a colleague about badges and the ‘why’ question arose. What is the point of issuing badges and is it worth the effort to go through whatever processes would be necessary to make them meaningful ? My answer, of course, was yes – if the goal is to establish a system that will validate learning from across the spectrum of opportunities (and a lifetime) and if that validation carries weight. Spitting out badges because they are cool and (some) people really like them can be done….but I’m not interested in that. Yes it might make a nice supplement to traditional grades, etc…. but from my perspective the value will come when a badge signifies verified learning – from whatever context (workplace, afterschool program, university, etc.). But let’s unpack that statement some other time.
In further reflection up on my recent discussion with @triches about badges for informal learning I was thinking about competencies and foundations. Core or foundational competencies can suggest learning pathways. Pathways can lead to capstone badges, which in turn could be foundational for the next level or series of learning pathways. Capstone badges equal ‘units of learning’? ( and I apologize for the wildly varying metaphorical mix – capstone, solar, planets…guess I’m still searching for the right metaphorical ecosystem to use to make talk about badges more broadly comprehensible to my audience).