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Digital Badges at Boise State University

What is a Digital Badge?

Badges have a long history as symbols of shared experiences, achievement, and evidence of demonstrated skills and/or rank.

In the context of higher education, digital badges can serve as motivators to learn and collaborate, and assist learners in articulating the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (competencies) they have earned. When the learning experiences behind a badge are appropriately designed and assessed, they represent powerful validation of real learning.

Digital Badges also allow individuals to embed the badge into social platforms and curate their skills in a way that allows colleagues and employers a deeper dive into the learning that has been accomplished. This “metadata” provides detailed information about the issuer, assessment process, knowledge, skills, abilities, and evidence.

What is the Value of a Digital Badge?

The value of any Digital Badge is based on:

  • The quality of the instruction applied to the learning
  • The rigor and relevance of the assessment conducted
  • The reputation of the badge-issuer
  • The amount of effort required by the earner to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities (competencies). A badge must be earned!
  • The design of the badge criteria includes input from employers or end users of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are earned.
  • The relevance/applicability of the competencies to the broader world (i.e. is the badge valued in the workplace, personal life, etc. of the earner?)
  • The badge is accessible from anywhere, anytime via digital means (i.e. Mozilla Backpack, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • The badge may be aggregated with badges from multiple sources and curated by their owner (the individual earner)