My keynote at the #RIDE2016 research conference – Research and Innovation in Distance Education and E-Learning, at the Centre for Distance Education, which took place on Friday 11 March 2016 at Senate House, University of London, focused on Open Badges as the missing link in Open Education.
My aim was to view Mozilla Open Badges in a wider context of Open Education and this again in a yet wider context of the Open Movement, which started with the Open Source concept towards the end of the 1990ies. The open source movement is directly linked to Mozilla, created as a free-software community by members of Netscape, who publicly released the source code of the Netscape Communicator in 1998. Open Badges are one of the key initiatives and concepts of the Open Movement and of Open Education given their dedication and mission to explore new ways of open credentialing and accreditation for all types of learning (Knight & Casilli, 2012).
So, what is “a missing link” in this context? Given the yet evolving nature of the OB concept and standard, I have chosen the following definition to discuss where we are at with Open Badges and how the future may look like:
“A missing link would possess the “in-between” evolutionary properties of both the ancestors’ original traits and the traits of the evolved descendants, hence showing a clear connection between the two.” (Melina, 2010)
It seems to me that the current version of open credentialing as enabled by Mozilla Open Badges, is at an intermediate stage, somewhere “in-between”, in a longer evolutionary process of credentialing practices.
With a growing number of new ideas about technological enhancements of Open Badges and applications of Open Badges disrupting traditional credentialing, it will be interesting to observe what the next incarnations of Open Credentialing may look like and what the drivers will be. Will it be the big data research and the need to provide meaningful metrics to different stakeholders including learners, educational organisations, employers and educational policy makers? Will it be the critical pedagogy endorsing human ability to think critically about own education? Or will it be the employability approach reflecting the need for new career concepts? Given the different possible influences, it is important to discuss the underlying framework of values which can/should drive the future open credentialing practices.
Here is the link to my presentation “Open Badges – The Missing Link in Open Education”