P2Pu Badge Project 1 (proposed)
Posted by Mark L. Sheppard
I am using this post as the basis for my proposed Badge project for P2PU. I’m keeping it relatively high level and I want to include the issuer, receiver and other possible roles. Any and all commentary is welcomed and actively solicited.
DISCLAIMER: This proposal is neither endorsed nor sponsored by the team of L&D professionals who run the twitter chat discussed herein. It is being used as a vehicle for a possible badging framework across similar professional development chats.
#chat2lrn is a bi-weekly Twitter chat targeted to L&D professionals. These professionals span a broad range of disciplines, competencies, and industries. Many participants are based in the UK. While others are in the Eastern part of North America, with others still from different parts of the globe. The chat lasts for approximately one hour and consists of a series of questions posed by the moderators to which the participants provide their responses and engage in dialogue.
While the moderators generate a transcript and other artifacts from the chat, there is no framework for measuring or validating contributions, or participation in a way that is balanced, recognizable, and standardized.
I am proposing that the #chat2lrn Moderators establish and manage a badge system to recognize contributions, participation, and other achievements as a means of validating and acknowledging individual efforts in the chat. This framework would be based on the Open Badging system proposed by Mozilla.
I am going to shamelessly follow Erin Knight’s 3 Ts” of badging: Types, Touchpoints, and Technology.
The Participation and Achievement types are likely the best ones to consider for this effort. It is relatively easy to measure an individual’s participation in any particular chat; likewise, straightforward achievement efforts can be quantified and validated, such as a guest blog post (those being the touchpoints). We could also throw in a badge for those individuals who have served as moderators for a particular period of time.
Where I am challenged is the Technology piece, particularly, the supporting infrastructure. In an ideal world, I envision a blog plug-in that would exist to support the management, hosting, and issuing of badges for visitors/participants/contributors. Issued badges would still reside in the Backpack for the individual, but the supporting artifacts would stay with the blog host or “home station”, if you will, for verification purposes.
The first challenge is establishing what things are “badge-worthy”. e.g., if we wanted to recognize anything in #chat2lrn, what would it be? Next, we must make the assumption that participants are interested in, and motivated by, the prospect of badges as a recognition. We must also ask the question about the relative value or “cachet” of badges, not just for this chat, but in the larger context of an emerging concept in credentialing and accomplishments. Another consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked is whether or not participants would even want such a thing. If they did, would they want automatic awards or would they want control over whether or not they apply for them or receive them.
The moderators of the chat have a lot of data at their fingertips to validate and confirm requests for (or issuing of) badges from participants, and they may inspire other peer-driven PD discussions to do something similar, thereby helping to expand the reach of these discussions. A successful badging program may also inspire the moderators to continue to improve the quality of the discussions so that there will always be new badges to earn (a critical engagement point, in my opinion.)
While virtual/digital badges are a relatively untried concept in a number of arenas, there are some early successes through Mozilla, some higher education institutions, and others, the potential for a portable, standardized framework of recognition of accomplishment or participation is high. What remains is the development of accessible tools and services to help promote badges and their acceptance into the mainstream.