Open Badges for Open Education

The Open Education Global Conference 2017 took place 8-10 March in Cape Town, South Africa. I was a great conference with a great number of interesting contributions and superb researchers and practitioners so I was very pleased to attend and introduce Open Badges as elements of Open Education in form of an Action Lab (see program and the Twitter hashtag #oeglobal). Also I presented a poster with the results of the policy research we have done in the Open Badge Network project.

It seems to me that the discussion around Open Education has been often narrowed down to Open Educational Resources and recently MOOCs, not sufficiently taking into consideration other forms of Open Education and Open Learning. I see Open Badges as one of these elements of Open Education which should be anchored in the global discourse on Open Education and Open Education Practices. I hope through these contributions to the conference program, I managed to trigger the interest and discussion about Open Badges for Open Education in this global community.

The OE Global Conference 2017 concluded but the Year of Open continues! The Year of Open is “a global focus on open processes, systems, and tools, created through collaborative approaches, that enhance our education, businesses, governments, and organizations” (learn more).

Here is the abstract of the Action Lab titled “Scaling up Open Badges for Open Education” and the link to my slides in SlideShare:

“This Action Lab aims at exploring and designing Open Badges as elements of Open Education. Open Badges are based on an open standard which enables to anyone to recognise and openly communicate open learning achievements including skills. Open Badges are used as open (micro) credentials and are an important element of Open Education as they enable learners to get their open learning achievements recognised, digitally recorded, validated and communicated to any audience in an open and transparent way. Open Education has been discussed in view of open access and participation in open courses and the production and use of Open Educational Resources. However, the element of recognition and communication of open education achievements has been neglected so far. The European Open Badge Network project is one of the global initiatives to promote Open Badges: http://openbadgenetwork.com.

This Acton & Design Lab aims at incubating ideas and formulating recommendations for scaling-up the use of Open Badges to recognise Open Learning in different open educational contexts. This lab takes 2 hours and starts with a hands-on demonstration of Open Badges as an open technology and educational approach including selected case studies (30 minutes). This is followed by a structured discussion about potentials and challenges of using Open Badges for recognition of Open Learning, using affinity diagramming techniques (30 minutes). The last part is about brainstorming ideas and designing recommendations for scaling-up Open Badges for Open Education (60 minutes). The last part is organised around three key dimensions of scaling-up of Open Badges, i.e. context, content, community. The results of the lab is a list of actions and recommendations for scaling up the use of Open Badges. The list encompasses policy, organisational, teacher and learner recommendations and will be published on the Open Badge Network portal.”

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