Wearables & Learning

We started the Special Interest Group on Wearable Enhanced Learning together with Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen und Fridolin Wild from Oxford Brookes University only in 2015. The interest in wearable enhanced learning has been growing rapidly. This year, at EC-TEL 2016 in Lyon France, we have organised already the 4th SIG WELL workshop!

This time, the SIG WELL workshop focused on prototypes and experiences with Wearable Enhanced Learning. We have had a number of interesting presentations on different applications of wearables. Here is the list:

  1. SIG WELL – Introduction – Ilona Buchem, Fridolin Wild, Ralf Klamma
  2. WeKit: Wearable Experience for Knowledge Intensive Training – Ralf Klamma & Fridolin Wild
  3. DevOpsUse for Large-Scale Social Requirements Engineering – Ralf Klamma & Milos Kravcik
  4. Wearables for Healthy Ageing – Ilona Buchem
  5. BBC micro:bit Maker-Boards – István Koren
  6. Tactile Feedback – Jazz Rasool, Carl Smith & Jazz Rasool
  7. Kinemata – motion memory enhanced – Jana Pejoska
  8. Smart Medical Simulation Team Training – Brenda Bannan
  9. The TCBL Project – Paul Lefrere, Fridoln Wild & Jesse Marsh
  10. Cognitive behavioural therapy training with wearables – Mikhail Fominykh

For more information about this event, please visit the SIG WELL website:




Policy Recommendations for Open Badges

We have just published the first discussion paper on policy recommendations for establishing Open Badges in Europe as part of the Erasmus+ strategic partnership “Open Badge Network”: http://www.openbadgenetwork.com, which brings together organisations from across Europe to support the development of an Open Badge ecosystem, promoting the use of Open Badges to recognise non-formal and informal learning.

The policy discussion paper is a contribution of the Open Badge Network to the ongoing debate on potentials and challenges of Open Badges, especially in their use as digital credentials.

The paper provides policy-makers with an overview of the basic principles, concepts and applications of Open Badges as instruments of digital credentialing, with the results of the first targeted analysis of potentials and challenges of using Open Badges as digital credentials from the perspective of policy-makers in different European countries and formulates some first actionable recommendations for developing, implementing and evaluating digital credentialing policies, strategies and action plans.

The paper includes results of policy recommendations research conducted in the Open Badge Network project with the aim of eliciting the opinions of policy makers about Open Badges in view of digital credentialing. This research includes:

  • Results of the European Policy Online Survey with selected European policy makers
  • Results of the Germany Policy Online Survey focusing on establishing Open Badges at policy levels in Germany
  • Results of the European Commission Policy Consultations in Brussels
  • Results of the Europass Working Group on Innovation Consultations
  • Results of the PIAAC Consultations (PIAAC = Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies).

We have opened a forum on the Open Badge Network portal and invite comments and feedback on the policy paper. For our project it is a preliminary policy document in the charting out the main directions for the follow-up White Paper on Open Badges Policies. So the feedback from the Community is very valuable to us!

We are looking forward to discussions about possible directions for establishing Open Badges as policy levels in Europe and beyond!

Suggested citation: Buchem, Ilona; van den Broek, Erik & Lloyd, Nigel (2016). Discussion Paper on Open Badges at Policy Levels (Open Badge Network, Erasmus+). URL: http://www.openbadgenetwork.com/outputs/policy-levels

Experiment Open Badges

Last week I gave a keynote on Open Badges at the #JFMH2016 at TU Darmstadt. The title of my keynote was:

Experiment “Open Badges” – potentials and challenges of digital verification of competences in higher education.

Based on the concept of “experiment with a society as a lab” from the field of media sociology, the starting point for my keynote was the thesis that Open Badges like many other novel, digital technologies, are applied directly in educational contexts without prior examination of their potentials and risks. Most of the times digital learning technologies and concepts, such as Open Badges, cannot be validated in controlled settings of a research lab, but are first applied in real-life educational settings and validated only later through experimentation which takes place in a regular course of affairs, within existing organisational structures and processes and involving students, teachers and other subjects.  Also, following the idea of mode 2 of knowledge production by Gibbons et al. (1994), the knowledge about the potentials and risks of novel technologies emerges as a result of an interdisciplinary, connected, open and cross-context interactions of persons involved in such experiments. This is also the case with Open Badges and the knowledge about the possibilities as well as effects of their application being created not only within one (educational) organisation but across diverse and globally distributed communities.

While applying novel technologies and concepts, such as Open Badges, it is important to keep in mind that the effects of experimentation are not always predictable and may have both positive and/or negative effects on the subjects involved. Reflecting the knowledge created following the principles of mode 2 by Gibbons at al. (1994) and taking responsibility for the design and implementation of Open Badges and other novel technologies in (higher) education is connected to a number of ethical and legal questions, some of which have been addressed by Willis, Quick & Hickey (2015).

Here is the link to my slides on SlideShare (slides are in German):


Open Badges – the missing link?

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”


➤ Carla Casilli & Daniel Hickey (2016) Transcending conventional credentialing and assessment paradigms with information-rich digital badges, The Information Society, 32:2, 117-129.
➤ Casilli, C. (2013). Badge pathways. Retrieved from https://carlacasilli.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/ badge-pathways-part-1-the-paraquel
➤ Broekman, P., Hall, G., Byfield, T., Hides S. & Worthington, S. (2014). Open Education. A Study in Disruption. Rowman & Littlefield International, Series: Disruptions.
➤ Ito, M., K. Gutierrez, S. Livingstone, B. Penuel, J. Rhodes, K. Salen, J. Schor, J. Sefton-Green & Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from http://www.dmlhub.net/publications
➤ Klein, J. (2013). Design feedback for badge systems. Jess Klein. Retrieved from http:// jessicaklein.blogspot.com/2013/01/design-feedback-for-badge-systems.html
➤ Melina, R. (2010). What’s the Missing Link? Livescience. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com
➤ Suber, P. (2013). Open access. MIT Press essential knowledge. Retrieved from https://mitpress.mit.edu
➤ Willis, J. E., Quick, J. & Hickey, D. T (2015). Digital Badges and Ethics: The Uses of Individual Learning Data in Social Contexts. In: D. Hickey, J. Jovanovic, S. Lonn, J.E. Willis, III (eds.): Proceedings of the Open Badges in Education (OBIE 2015). New York, USA. Retrieved from http://ceur-ws.org
➤ Young, J. R. (2012). Badges Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1-7. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Badges-Earned-Online- Pose/130241/

Open Badge Network

This week we launched the Open Badge Network (OBN) portal. Open Badge Network is an Erasmus + project and strategic partnership which brings together organisations from across Europe to support the development of an Open Badge ecosystem, promoting the use of Open Badges to recognise non-formal and informal learning.

Our mission is to provide a trusted source of independent information, tools and informed practice to support people who are interested in creating, issuing and earning Open Badges across Europe. Read our Charter.

Mozilla Open Badges is an open standard that allows all skills and achievements to be recognised and shared across the web. Schools, Universities, Employers and informal learning providers are using open badges to capture life long learning which is currently unrecognised. Open Badges are radically changing the way we see credentials; from abstract measures of knowledge towards a tool to connect individuals with opportunities for employment, training and progression. Globally, over 2 million badges have been issued to date by 14,000 organisations.

Over the next 2 years, the Open Badge Network is committed to connecting and supporting the European badge community and with them, co-creating materials, tools and guidance to enable Open Badges to flourish within Europe.

These activities include:

  • A real-time inventory of Open Badge projects across Europe called “Badge the World”Badge the World seeks to document the many innovative Open Badge projects that are underway throughout the world.
  • Tools and guidance for organisations and individuals to issue, earn and display badges. Open Badge Resources include tools, project, use cases and publications.
  • A calendar of European events, webinars and an Open Badges MOOC. Please include your event in our Event Calendar for the dissemination of your event!
  • An active network of practitioners, educationalists and policy makers to connect and collaborate with. If you would like to help promote and advocate this mission please register and get in touch.

We are looking for organisations and individuals from across Europe to join us as Associate Partners to help grow the Open Badge Network.

Join us today!

My 2015 in review

While the WordPress.com prepared an annual report for my blog, I would like to capture here some of my personal, professional highlights from 2015. Looking back at 2015 I will remember 2015 as an extremely busy, yet formative and successful year!  Below is the list of my personal 2015 highlights – so many unforgettable events and valuable encounters I would like to remember!

January 2015

Date: 27 January 2015

Event: eMadrid seminar on Open Badges at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. I was invited to give a talk on Open Badges for Recognition of Learning and Online Reputation. This event was organised as part of the eMadrid project, which is divided into 10 lines of research aligned with the EU initiative “Opening Up Education” and the Horizon 2020 program. Follow this link – eMadrid 2015 – for more information including my slides and the video recording.

Highlight: My personal highlight was meeting professor Carlos Delago Kloos from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Michael Amigot from Open edX and to learn more about the Open edX initiatives, projects and Open Badges integrations! Many thanks to Carlos for inviting me and to Michael for sharing interesting ideas about MOOCs, Open Badges & Co.! the picture below is a screenshot of the video recording of the session.


February 2015

Date: 25 February 2015

Event: Grant notification letter from Stifterverband fuer die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V. – Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany. The application submitted by Beuth University, which I significantly contributed to, was selected for funding 2015-2016. This grant has enables us to set up a project at Beuth University called “Digital Future” (Digitale Zukunft), in which strategies for using digital media in teaching in higher education in all eight departments have just started to be developed in 2015. I am very glad to lead this project and cooperate closely with the Vice President for Studies and International Affairs at Beuth.

Highlight: It is a great distinction to be awarded a prise as one of 8 universities selected from 99 universities which applied for this grant! Also it has been a great experience to develop organisation-wide strategies with different stakeholder groups at my university. The picture below is from the official event in January 2015, together with the vice president and two senior colleagues from Beuth.


March 2015

Date: 26 March 2015

Event: An open, joint webinar about Open Badges and ePortfolios as part of the Europortfolio German Chapter . The German Chapter grew out of the LLP KA3-ICT Network project called “EPNET – Europortfolio: a European Network of Eportfolio Experts and Practitioners”.You can view the recording of the webinar on Open Badges (in German). The Europortfolio German Chapter was founded in December 2014 (see the picture #1 from the official event at Online Educa 2014 below) as has been actively growing the German ePortfolio community by regular webinars and events. We have grown to over 100 members in 2015!

Highlight: My personal highlight was introducing Open Badges for the first time to the German ePortfolio community. It was also a great pleasure to prepare and host this webinar together with my two colleagues – Ingo Dahn und Andreas Auwärter  from the University Koblenz-Landau. I learned a lot from the Ingo and Andreas! Also I was glad to test Open Badge Factory to issue the Open Badge – Taschenlampe – to the webinar participants.



April 2015

Date: 9 April 2015

Event: A trip to Florence, Italy including a visit to the University of Florence – Università degli Studi di Firenze.

Highlight: My personal highlight was meeting with professor Maria Ranieri which has done some important research on eLearning and mLearning and is also a board member of Italian Association of Media Education! See her citations at Google Scholar. The picture below was taken at the Botanical Garden close to the University of Florence.

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May 2015

Date: 7 May 2015

Event: Attending re:publica 2015. The re:publica is one of the largest and most exciting conferences about digital culture in the world. The motto of re:publica 2015 was “finding europe”. I especially enjoyed the sessions related to digital innovation for social change, in areas such as health and education. The picture below was taken at the session on mobile health.

Highlight: My personal highlight was meeting with professor Ademar Aguiar – an assistant professor at the University of Porto (Portugal), researcher at INESC Porto (Institute for Systems Engineering and Computers) and an entrepreneur with whom I worked together on organising the PLE Conference 2013 in Berlin.

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June 2015

Date: 4 June 2015

Event: Participating and presenting at Digital Didactical Designs Conference 2015 at Umeå University in Sweden. This event was dedicated to current concepts of learning, teaching, pedagogy and ICT. The list of international experts and researchers included Gerry Stahl (USA), Ulrich Hoppe (Germany), Yishay Mor (UK), Andreas Lund (Norway), Ilona Buchem (Germany), Staffan Selander (Sweden), Swapna Kumar (USA) and Sean P. Goggins (USA). Here you will find a teaser about my presentation related to “Digital Didactical Designs with Wearable Technologies”.

Highlight: This conference was organised by my dear friend and a great researcher professor Isa Jahnke, who is Director of Research for the IELab, and Assoc. Prof. at the University of Missouri, School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT, iSchool). It was great to meet Isa, her colleagues, invited speakers and other researchers and of course to visit Umeå, which in high up north of Sweden!

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July 2015

Date: 13 July 2015

Event: Organising the Special Track on Wearable-technology Enhanced Learning (WELL) as part of the Immersive Learning Research Network – iLRN Prague 2015 – conference in Prague, Czech Republic. You can find the proceedings of the iLRN 2015 here. My own presentation was dedicated to “User Engagement in Wearable Enhanced Learning” (link to slides).

Highlight: It was great organising this special track with my colleagues and co-chairs of the EATEL Special Interest Group on Wearable-technology Enhanced Learning (SIG WELL) – professor Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen University and Fridolin Wild from the Knowledge Media Institute at Open University (UK). The three of us launched the SIG WELL at the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning and organised two special tracks on wearable enhanced learning in 2015 – one at iLRN Prague 2015 and the other one at EC-TEL 2015 Design Challenge. Thanks to all participants of the Special Track on Wearable-technology Enhanced Learning (WELL) for your great and valuable contributions!


September 2015

Date: 11 September 2015

Event: Participating in and presenting at the 6th Brazilian-German Frontiers of Science and Technology Symposium 2015 (BRAGFOST 2015), in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany co-organized by the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I was invited to present in the session on adaptive techniques for individualised learning. My presentation was titled “Adaptive learning with wearable technologies – an embodied learning framework”. You can find the list of BRAGFOST 2015 sessions here.

Highlight: It was an unforgettable, personally and professionally enriching, interdisciplinary experience. My “thank you” goes to professor Ulrike Lücke from University of Potsdam for inviting me and co-chairing the session on adaptive learning together with Seiji Isotani from Universidade de São Paulo and to all colleagues from Germany and Brasil including professor Christoph Rensing, Mohamed Amine Chatti and Ibert Bittencourt, for sharing their exciting research and making this event a success! Thank you also to the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung for co-organising this great, truly interdisciplinary and inspiring event!

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September 2015

Date: 15 September 2015

Event: Participating and presenting at the European Conference of Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2015 in Toledo, Spain. Together with professor Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen University we organised a Design Challenge titled “Envisioning Wearable Enhanced Learning”, which aimed at eliciting new and innovative designs enhancing learning by means of wearable technologies. You can find the design challenge description here.

Highlight: It was really exciting to learn about some very interesting and innovative R&D done with wearable technologies for learning presented by the workshop participants from all over the world. My personal highlight was meeting professor Brenda Banan from George Mason Universty – thank you Brenda for these great conversations!


September 2015

Date: 23 September 2015

Event: Presenting at the event from the Nordic Chapter of Europortfolio dedicated to non-traditional ways to recognize students’ skills and competences at Syddansk Universitet in Odense, Denmark. I was invited to present on Open Badges in education.

Highlight: My personal highlight was meeting Elisabeth Agerbæk -the chairman of Nordic Portfolio working at the Knowledge Lab and visiting Odense, which is a charming place and a birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. The picture below was taken at the University of Southern Denmark, where the event took place.

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October 2015

Date: October 2015

Event: User study in the project fMOOC – fitness MOOC with senior users in cooperation with Geriatrics Research Group, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The fMOOC project, which I was coordinating, developed a novel wearable enhanced MOOC for healthy ageing which was tested in two user studies in September and October 2015.

Highlight: It was exciting to learn how what was first drafted on paper and later developed by our young, skilled researchers at Beuth University was used by the target group of senior users 65+ in user studies conducted by our colleagues from the Geriatrics Research Group at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The picture below was taken earlier in 2015 when we first saw the first prototype of the fMOOC.

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November 2015

Date: 19 November 2015

Event: Presenting at the International Conference on Interactive Mobile Communication, Technologies and Learning, IMCL2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Our paper  was titled “Gamification designs in Wearable Enhanced Learning for Healthy Ageing” and was related to the fitness MOOC (fMOOC) project (see above). The fMOOC project was founded by the German Ministry of Research in Education in 2014-2015 and was a joint project of Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin and the Geriatrics Research Group, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in which we developed a wearable enhanced MOOC for healthy ageing. The contribution to IMCL 2016 in Thessaloniki focused on gamification design. You can find my slides here.

Highlight: My personal highlight of this event was meeting my dear friend Maria Perifanou – ICT Researcher (PhD), project coordinator at P.A.U Education Barcelona and member of the OpenEducationEuropa.eu team. Thank you Maria for a wonderful day in Thessaloniki!


December 2015

Date: 2 December 2015

Event: Workshop on Open Badges at Online Educa Berlin 2015, OEB 2015, organised together with my colleagues Michal Nowakowski and Ireneusz Wozniak from our Open Badge Network Project . Open Badge Network is a project founded under Erasmus+, KA2 strategic partnership and aims at enhancing the recognition of non-formal and informal learning by promoting the exploitation of using Open Badges.  You can see our slides here.

Highlight: As the coordinator of the Open Badge Network project I was very glad to meet with old and new colleagues working with Open Badges, especially Eric Rousselle, the CEO of Discendum (Finland) who developed Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport, and professor Vladan Devedzic from the University of Belgrade, the coordinator of the GRASS project. I am looking forward to further cooperations in 2016!

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December 2015

Date: 8 December 2015

Event: The Doctoral Defence Ceremony at the Delft University of Technology, TU Delft in the Netherlands. I was appointed to act as a member of the doctoral committee of the doctoral dissertation of Ebrahim Rahimi whose doctoral thesis is titled “A Design Framework for Personal Learning Environments”.

Highlight: It was a rewarding experience to act as a member of the doctoral committee of Ebrahim Rahimi, who has been connected to the PLE community (Personal Learning Environments) for a long time and participanted in the the PLE Conference 2013 in Berlin. Congratulations Ebrahim for your great contribution to the PLE research! My personal highlight was also a traditional ceremony which was a new experience to me. I was glad to meet the promotors, especially professor Vim Ween from TU Delft, professor Arne Krokan from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and other members of the doctoral committee. It was a truly unforgettable experience! Thank you all!

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And to finish with – here’s an excerpt from the WordPress.com stats:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Open Badge Network

Open Badge Network (OBN) held its second multiplier event on 2nd December at Online Educa Berlin 2015 (OEB2015). Online Educa Berlin is the global, cross-sector conference on technology supported learning and training. In December 2015, over 2,000 participants travelled from more than 90 countries for three days of discussions, debates, labs, demos and special events, to network with international experts and to meet with suppliers and service providers from all over the world in the OEB exhibition.

The OBN multiplier event was a full day pre-conference workshop (see: session FD4) dedicated to Open Badges for Individuals and Organisations. The workshop was organised by Ilona Buchem (Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin) and Michal Nowakowski (Institute of Sustainible Technologies – National Research Institute, Poland).

You will find the full blogpost at the website of Open Badge Network.
You can find the slides from OEB2015 in SlideShare:
Open Badges for Individuals and Organisations from Ilona Buchem