I found this new report today on the value of Digital Badges for adult learners. I wonder if we might need to take a…

I found this new report today on the value of Digital Badges for adult learners. I wonder if we might need to take a…

I found this new report today on the value of Digital Badges for adult learners. I wonder if we might need to take a look at our certification structures in relation to badges. What do you all think?



  1. Great report +Ben Wilkoff I am working on creating a badge system for online, personalized Pd in our district. I want teachers to be able to select different modules or challenges to complete that are of interest to them and be able to earn badges in the process. It would be meaningful if there was some consistency with badges or micro credentials across the state, nation or globe (I love that term Rich Kiker)

  2. Ben Wilkoff thanks so much for sharing this.  I have loved the idea of digital badges for a long time, and many of my concerns/questions around them are being addressed in this article.  

    I have always wanted to know about how we can funnel all of these badges into a single place for the recipient.  You know?  Where is the digital sash for me to virtually stitch my badge of online merit.   I figure that is why we are always coming back to digital portfolios of work, even though they can get messy.   So, I get the need for a consistent process & there must be considerations around the development, management, & distribution privileges.   I imagine the vetting process will be most difficult.   Yet, getting the right people is the most important piece.  For example, I personally would see more value in a digital learner badge from Ben Wilkoff  than one form university of what not.   Especially if it’s the Wilkoff’s Wolfpack Badge!

  3. Kristen Swanson  of yes, I have heard of and referred to it in other communities.  I guess I should dig into that more, and by that I mean, “be an active participant”.  I guess my main concert is around the implications the issuing of badges in closed systems, internal organizations or in programs that are not using Mozilla Badges.  How do I get them into a Mozilla Backpack, and when does one set up said backpack to curate them?  Also, what about past experiences that happened pre badging?    Admittedly, I have some research to do,  but if there were a standard platform, how can I get kiddos on it early to get the most vibrant picture of their abilities?

  4. Why is this only about demonstration of “adult” learning? The report’s central premise regarding the value of digital badges is the ubiquity of digital communication modalities: “Given the presence virtually everywhere of cell phones and Internet connectivity, there are more opportunities to observe, record, and note achievements and milestones….” (Exec. Sum.) This seems like a significant opportunity to reframe students’ demonstrations of proficiency.

  5. Stevan Kalmon I think that a lot of folks are working toward the use of badges with students, but very few are researching and using them with adults, which is what makes this report so unique. 

    My central question with this approach is this: What do micro-credentials give us that we do not get with our “here is a paper certificate” system for attending this course? I can think of a number of things, but I’m curious what this community thinks we really get (in terms of outcomes) that would be different.

  6. Mozilla has certainly done great badge work – but I still wonder why we need third-party folks to help us, as the report describes, “share a more compelling narrative of (my) personal identity.”  Might we be spending a lot of time and effort on a new way to do an old thing that we weren’t so fond of or good at (external assessment?)

  7. Bud Hunt, I was so hoping that you would weigh in here!

    I need to sort out why it is that I gravitate so much toward badges (micro-credentials). Especially since my more official credential (my diploma) has sat in a box since I got it.

    I really think it has something to do with the concept that so many of the skills and the ways in which I learn now are not codified or valued in many areas. Now, much of the time, I’m just fine with Vlogging or Blogging about something I’m working on and being done with it, but I would love to have a common understanding for the value of connected learning. I would love to have a shared way to know who I can go to within a community for a certain type of support. I would love to have a way in which I work toward filling gaps and capitalize on strengths. Learning and reflecting has value within a community that understands it and helped to create it, but how does that value transfer if I need to leave that community or work in a new capacity?

    There are two things really responsible for informing this thinking:

    1. When I moved from within a district/classroom role to one outside, I had to start from scratch with my identity. If I could have taken my identity with me (or the relevant portions of it, anyway), I would have felt less alone.

    2. I didn’t understand the value of badges fully until I became a “Google Certified Teacher.” While the badge itself means nothing to me (the pin on my lanyard). The community of colleagues it now gives me access to is incredible. Both within my cohort and all those that preceded it, people have pushed my thinking and asked for help in ways I never have seen previously.

    Please help me understand that these things are possible without badges. Please help me think through how we create ownership of our learning without the communities and institutions that give us membership status or micro-credentials that say we belong.

  8. Thanks, Ben Wilkoff  for the pushback.  But the examples you share have nothing to do with badges.  Mostly.  

    1.  You carried an identity with you from place one to place two – when I left the classroom, my digital self came along for the ride.  No badges for me, just the stuff that I had done and shared and made and posted before.  Same was true for you.  I’m not sure how additional credentials would’ve helped that – unless you went around sharing and explaining them to folks.  

    2.  The Google Certified Teacher label isn’t what you wanted – you wanted access to the private group of folks who communicate in that space.  That didn’t require a badge – it required a community moderator to let you in.  The space you’re curating here didn’t require I have a badge to enter.  We’ve been privy to plenty of valuable conversations in public, no badges required – and I’d even argue that Google CT and Apple DE and all of those “we have a private space where we share with each other” communities do a disservice to the open Web by putting their stuff behind a firewall.  

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