Monday, June 24, 2013

Badge System Design Reboot

So four weeks back I kicked off the Badge System Design course within the school of badges. We had some outstanding participants and introductions. The related discussions were thought provoking, but like many free and on-line courses participation falls off after the first few weeks. This course has been no different, and the learning was deep (at least for me, and I hope a few others). As the course designer, three main themes came from this past four weeks;
  1. the rubric designed as the foundation of the course needs to be broken into three rubrics, collectively still being the foundation. And also offering rubrics to what I now see as the three main types of badge systems.
    • for traditional education
    • for informal learning
    • for events and community
  2. the webmaker badge system should be used as the example badge system for the sample solution within the course.
  3. the first release of many things get thrown away always. This also applies to course development.
Even though the course had strong participation at the beginning and fell off quickly, I still it as a very important course. The success of open badges is dependent upon people developing skills in badge system design, and any way I can assist in this effort is time well spent. This is how I see rebooting the Badge System Design course.
  1. Create a schoolofbadges google group which will be used as a shared discussion forum for all courses within the School of Badges.
  2. Create three new badge system design rubrics, one for each of the three identified badge system design realms.
  3. Invite others to assist in the development of the three different rubrics
  4. reach out to people who have developed badge systems in each of the areas and ask for participation, assistance, and insights
  5. Alter the P2Pu Badge System Design course to utilize the three different rubrics
  6. Try running the course again in the fall of 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Three badge system design domains

The ultimate autodidact.
I've been on this badge system design journey for a while. I've been engaged with the Open Badges movement for over a year, with daily thoughts and efforts in moving this initiative forward. My commitment Open Access Accreditation (Open Badges) started five years ago during a discussion about Open Educational Resources. Recently my efforts have been in building the School of Badges on the P2Pu, with particular focus on Badge System Design. I am basing all of this design work on the things I learned while working with the open badges team and the success of a similar workshop with Scope the end of last year. When I started to build the P2Pu course it became apparent that we needed a badge system design "tool" or approach to base the course around. I came up with the idea of creating a rubric as a guide to building badge systems. The idea met with a good amount of success and a small group iterated around its development over a couple of months. The previous link shows our results. One aspect of the rubric that I have struggled with is how it was being influenced by traditional methods of curriculum development and accreditation, or that the rubric was trying to work for many different badging contexts. It seemed we were trying to build a single rubric for all badge system design domains. Too me it felt strained...

This morning during discussion within the P2Pu Badge System Design course I came to the realization that there are three domains for badge system design. These three domains are;
  1. Badge System Design for traditional curriculum
    This is really a mapping of existing curriculum to badges with the addition of co-curricular activities. There is a lot of room for innovation here, in the end all badges are associated with traditional education and related activities. The traditional could also include badges within scouting organizations or other legacy based institutions that have been issuing merit badges for a period of time before digital and open badges.
  2. Badge System Design for informal learning
    This is learning outside of the traditional curriculum. In particular, self-directed learners, autodidacts, heutagogues, and small groups engaged in informal learning. This is where people have the opportunity to develop their own badge systems.
  3. Badge System Design for events and community
    This is everything else where you would want to issue badges; participation in conferences, recognition for involvement with communities, accomplishments of merit, fun activities where tasks or activities have been achieved or participated in, this list could be anything that could be dreamed up where a badge could be issued.
The hacker scouts have brought together the tradition of scouting, with the freedom of the hacker community, the resources of adafruit, the venue and innovation of the maker movement, with open badges. This image is the hacker scouts badge system design.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick issuing and organization of Badges

Working through some of the comments within the Quick Issuing course within the P2Pu School of Badges. One discussion item prompted me to answer a bunch of questions that I believe are really important. These are the questions and related answers;

Are all my badges tiered?
No not all my badges or tiered. I do believe some of my arrangements are a star or a network. I do think badge organization should follow the organization of the knowledge domain. I do think it would be more of a network of related subjects, skills, events... that as they are earned would form clusters or groupings. I organized as a tiered approach for I was wanting to relate the categorization like the color scheme of the martial arts belt system.

I do believe the work Mozilla has been doing around badge system design is excellent and I believe they are wanting to stay away from the tiered or hierarchical approach. But I do think many humans organize in hierarchies...
Mozilla Webmaker is also becoming the exemplary badge system design. Kudo's for creating a great example!

Do I create a table for all my badges, or just tiered badges?
No, I don't create a table for all my badge systems. I do believe it is important to provide some way to organize, display and describe the badge system. A table is one way... and due to my using wikiversity for the mobile app dev course, the table seemed like the best way to go.

Do I have a giant table for all badges in one course?
I don't see creating one giant table to describe all the badges. There does need to be some way of describing the badge system as a whole. I believe it would help people understand the learning pathways within the badge system if there was a "curriculum" or "learning journey" map. I do see that Mozilla Webmaker is doing great work here as an example. See Erin Knights post;
I also see the badge system and approach created by the Khan academy is also an interesting example of displaying a whole badge system.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Badge System Design Performance Levels

It was suggested I add descriptions for each performance level within the Badge System Design rubric. This is what I came up with...
  • Exemplary
    The example for an outstanding badge system. Badge systems should aspire to be as comprehensive and as well designed.
  • Notable
    A badge system that should be reviewed for their approach toward design and implementation.
  • Working
    A badge system that is working and consist of a few badges that collectively represent an accomplishment beyond a single badge.
  • Introductory
    The minimum for a badge system.

Badge endorsement is important

During the sixth task of the Badge System Design course the participant is asked to compare and contrast three adjacent cells from within the rubric. I have chosen the three rightmost adjacent cells from the Endorsement criteria row.

the three rightmost cells from the endorsement criteria of the badge system design rubric.

Endorsement: The badge system is recognized by other organizations, communities, individuals and/or systems. It fits or is aligned with previous badge and credentialing systems of similar subject areas.

I will break my compare and contrast into three sections;
  1. how I understand each cell
    • within the introductory cell endorsement is not applicable as this performance level is about having a simple badge or badge system being issued. Having endorsements for the badge or system is not required. If a badge or badge system begins to receive endorsements it would move into the working performance level.
    • the working cell needs a couple of endorsements, and these can come from anywhere. It is that people, groups, communities or institutions have put in the effort to endorse a badge that adds the value and puts the badge or badge system into the working performance level.
    • the notable cell needs endorsements from multiple sources, it is preferable these endorsements come from different subject areas and different contexts. The people, groups, communities or organizations need to resolve back to proven entities of reputation. How the reputation is provided will vary, it needs to exist.
  2. how each cell compares to the other
    It makes sense the introductory cell does not require endorsement. The idea is to quickly create a badge or badge system and endorsement would add effort and require a third party to provide the endorsement, this would slow down release of the badge. A working system needs endorsement from a few parties, the effort of a few parties providing endorsement is adequate to move an introductory system into being a working system.The notable system is like the working system in that it has endorsements from multiple sources. These endorsements will come from across industries and subject areas.
  3. and where do the cells contrast and what is the value in their differences
    The three different cells contrast in that the introductory cell requires no endorsement, the working cell has endorsements, and the notable cell has endorsements from multiple sources from within different industries and / or subject areas.
I believe these three performance cells for the endorsement criteria work well together and they build toward more comprehensive endorsement. I would suggest adding that some of the sources of endorsement for the notable performance level come from organizations, communities or individuals of proven reputation. How reputation is proven becomes another issue for discussion.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The minimum for a badge system

If I was to list through all the criteria of an introductory badge from the Badge System Design Rubric I would end up with the following list of attributes. And honestly I believe this is the minimum a badge or badge system requires to be considered a starter or basic badge system.

  • Badge is awarded for accomplishing a simple task, attending an event, or participating in a community.
  • Badge has simple design, with little brand or curriculum affiliation. Mono-color badge with simple graphical themes. No integration with other internal or external badge systems. Services the basic graphical needs of a png or svg file.
  • A single badge system, where the badge is well designed from a graphical perspective. It is easily identified in how it can be earned on its own, and within other learning, achievement or recognition journeys.
  • The criteria to earn the badge is well articulated and easily understood. Criteria attribute within the badge meta-data resolves to internet location (URL).
  • Badges are issued from a 3rd party public and open badge issuing platform. Little integration with the course, community of practice, or participants sites are present. All associated URL's resolve back to working and open URL's where no login is required.
  • Each badge fits well within its own badge system and related curriculum. Standards applied are local to the organization, community, group or an individuals badge system.
  • Assertions resolve back to valid URL's.
  • The evidence of an earned badge represents the learning, achievement or recognition criteria of the badge.
  • All skills and knowledge for building the badge system reside within one to three people.

Strength: I believe the main strength of the introductory performance level for badge system design is in its simplicity. The basic levels of performance to introduce a new badge system are well articulated and easily understood.

Opportunity: The description what is a learning, achievement or recognition journey is vague. Providing some concrete examples of these three badge worthy journeys needs more explanation.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Does a badge stand on it's own?

This post sets out to describe what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses of one row from within the Badge System Design Rubric found within the P2Pu challenge of the same name. The row I have chosen to evaluate is dedicated to a badge systems criteria.

What is badge criteria: Each badge stands on its own, or is it a part of a larger learning, achievement or recognition journey. The objective is well represented in the badge or collective badge system criteria. The criteria provides flexibility so a badge can be reused in different learning, achievement or recognition contexts. The badge criteria accommodates for its potential expiration.
I believe an individual badge or badge system should be able to stand on its own. This is so it can be used across contexts. This strengthens the design of the badge and sets the badge or badge system for greater reuse. The criteria of the badge system needs to be well articulated and easily understood so people quickly know what they are working toward. I believe the badge criteria should be written in such a way that it is timeless or recognizes its expiration. If a badge does expire it should still accommodate for its assertion (validation).
Introductory badge criteria: The criteria to earn the badge is well articulated and easily understood. Criteria attribute within badge meta-data resolves to URL.
These are simple criteria to meet, and as an introductory badge gets someone to completing the design quickly. What is the outcome for earning the badge, well written and easy to understand, with a working URL. What else do you need to get started?

Working badge criteria: The criteria to earn the badge is comprehensive in that it describes different learning, achievement or recognition approaches, associated tasks and outcomes. The criteria has one or more examples or completions for reference.
The working criteria looks to be complete and has accommodated for different approaches to achievement, assessment or learning. The working criteria doesn't restrain the approaches used to create evidence toward earning the badge. Examples of how the badge was earned are easily found and understood.

Notable badge criteria: The criteria allows the badge to stand on its own, fit within the system it has been developed, and can be used within other badge systems. Criteria seems timeless in that it is constructed and worded in such a way that it does not expire. 
I like that the badge can also be used in other learning contexts and within other badge systems. One of the benefits of badges is to also reduce the duplication of accreditation for the same subjects. The design and wording of the badge should be timeless, I believe this would cause the badge to be more transferable and work well in other badge systems. This does not mean that a badge cannot expire, it just means criteria should be designed and written without an expiry type vocabulary.
Exemplary badge criteria: The criteria fits well within multiple learning, achievement or recognition contexts and applies well across communities, events, curriculum and cultures. The learning context may change and the criteria still applies. The criteria is developed and written in such a way that it is timeless; earning the badge more than once through time makes sense. The badge criteria does not expire.
If a badge or badge system could be used across contexts (in particular, across cultural contexts) and meet or exceed the previous three performance levels it should be considered exemplary.  The badge criteria should not expire. Unless, it makes sense for a badge to expire; or have a renewal cycle where skills, knowledge, learnings, and/or attendance needs to occur through time.
Strength: I believe the main strength of this criteria is in describing a badge or badge system that stands on its own. I believe it is important that any badge can be used across contexts and become a part of another badge system.

Opportunity: I believe there is an opportunity to improve the description (with working examples) of how a badge or badge system can be used across contexts. I also believe that there are times where a badge should not be used across contexts and it would dilute the badge to design it so it could be used across contexts.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Badge System Design as a P2Pu course

Over the next eight weeks I will be facilitating the Badge System Design challenge hosted on P2Pu as a course. This eight task challenge encourages you;
  1. to explore existing badge systems 
  2. do a deep study into a rubric that guides badge systems design 
  3. review and provide feedback to your peers also studying badge system design
  4. design and create your own badge system 
During the eight weeks (starting June 1st) I will be facilitating this P2Pu Challenge as a course where I will engage each participant to complete the challenge. Upon completion of the course you will be awarded the 301 - Badge System Design badge. I look forward to deepening all our understanding of badge system design.

The course badge awarded upon completion.