Digital badging at
The Open University
Patrina Law, Head of Free Learning@HigherEdPatrina
Why do we do free learning?
ELIZABETH THE SECOND
by the Grace of God of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland and of
Our other Realms and
Territories Queen, Head of the
Commonwealth, Defender of the
Engaging new learners
What is OpenLearn?
Our commitment to open
What has this activity achieved?
Benefits to institutions of OER
Increases access to education
Provides an opportunity to assess and plan education choices
Showcases intellectual outputs, promoting profile and attracting students
Converts learners into fee paying enrolments
Adds value to knowledge production
Reduces faculty preparation time
Generates cost savings
Generates innovation through collaboration.
For OU students in particular: A taster for online/distance Delivers improved progression for those that use OpenLearn A vehicle for module choice / qualification pathway
Who are our OpenLearn learners?
How do they feel about their learning?
A test to give confidence my next
module choice is appropriate for me
confidence in ability to study.
Are students. 29% of enrolled
are OU students.
Want OU-branded recognition
for informal learning.
More likely to take
another free course.
More likely to
content to others.
The free extracts of courses gave me
confidence to enroll in my first moduleI
have also been using them to practice
A good talking point and something
to include on my CV
Fees are now too high for me to
consider continuing my degree
Thank you for providing a resource
for people that cannot get to a facility
due to physical or financial difficulty.
Recognition in an informal / non formal environment
Cross (2007) describes informal learning as the unofficial,unscheduled, impromptu way people learn but in anenvironment where ...no one assigns grades and ...no onetakes attendance.
We have moved from Crosss anonymous world to one ofidentified informal learning. There is a growing demand thatlearners want recognition for their achievements in the freelearning space that can be acknowledged publicly.
OpenLearn learners want OU-branded recognition for their learning.
What are badges?
Image credits: Thornhill School http://thornhillschool.org.uk/current/latest-news/-/post/blue-peter-badges; and Patrina Law.
As a coming together of games culture and the traditional badge issuing by clubs and societies, a digital badge has developed to become an online visual representation of an accomplishment or skill (Ostashewski & Reid, 2015) issued in a variety of formal and non formal settings.
An incentive for learners To identify progress To signify achievement and learning
On assessment in badges (Hickey (2012):o Summative functions - assessment of learningo Formative functions for individuals - assessment for learningo Transformative functions for systems - assessment as learning
Defining the potential of digital badgingOn assessment in learning (Abramovich et al., 2013): the potential benefit of an assessment is determined by its ability to both maintain learning motivation and accurately communicate a students learning.
Assessments (using Moodle quizzes in BOCs) presented in the way that Hickey identifies, we are attempting to communicate feedback and provide motivation to learners in an environment that cannot provide tutorial support.
In support of motivating learners in the open
OpenLearn Badged Open Courses (BOCs):1. Give informal learners the recognition theyve
requested.2. Give prospective students the skills to be
prepared for undergraduate study.3. Give our current students a means of
developing and displaying skills relevant to career progression.
Cheaper to produce than our MOOCs No tutoring overhead Badging infrastructure interoperable with open
Badged Open Courses -- assessment framework
Learners need to achieve 50% to pass an assessment
Learners are given three attempts
If they fail on the third attempt, they can retake after 24 hours
Practice assessment is available throughout the course
All pages of the course must have been read
Formal assessment takes place halfway and at the end
All BOCs are 24 hours of learning
Two successful assessments = 1 badge
5 points of openness
Mozilla Backpack (or other aggregator)
My OpenLearn ProfileSocial networks
Printable certificate https://backpack.openbadges.org/backpack/login
BOC impact first 10 months 2000+ badges issued
The BOCs are generating around 12,000 new visitors a month to OpenLearn
They drive a very high proportion of learners to click-through to make an enquiry to the OU (26.2% Feb-Nov 2015)
Completion rates of BOCs are higher than our MOOCs
300 formal module registrations have been made (mostly entry level)
2,300 prospectus requests
254 qualification sign-ups (mostly new students)
Satisfaction rates are very high (~98%)
Surveys have shown that up to 57% say that they will be sharing their achievements with an employer or prospective employer
BOCs as a motivator and for recognition 71% perceive digital badge and certificate as equally
Responses to What does earning a badge mean to you?
Source: SurveyMonkey. End of course survey, Succeed with maths, Part 1.
these badges adds
more value to the
work I put in
Thank you for giving
me the confidence to
do something I
thought I had no
intellect to actually
BOC impact data analysis
BOCs supporting professional development
39-57% will show badge to employer
BOCs as preparedness and driver for study
Promising demographic for undergraduate recruitment (younger than OpenLearn overall) and existing qualifications: only 7-17% hold undergraduate degree compared to 26% on OpenLearn (MOOCs >70%)
Reasons for studying: Professional development (84%), personal interest (78%), preparation for study (54%)
58% had not taken online course before
BOCs supporting disabled learners
Between 15% and 37% declare a disability (OpenLearn overall is 23%; UK adult population is 16%)
A good talking
include on my
maths skills and
going on to do the
will be applying to
do an access
course in March
BOC impact data analysis
Learners are clear about how they like to learn
Responses to Please rate how you felt about the different ways of learning on OpenLearn.
Source: SurveyMonkey. End of course survey, English: skills for learning
BOC impact data analysis
BOC impact reasons for studying
Word cloud source: SurveyMonkey. End of course survey, Succeed with maths Part 1
1. Were we setting the bar too high? Were we going to deter completion?
2. Are the detractors right to question the value of a badge?
3. Scant research and almost no empirical data. 4. Was using repurposed content really going to save
on production costs? 5. Can we convince others of the robustness of the QE?6. Developing assessment a challenge for most
writers 45 questions for Weeks 4 and 8; 15 questions for remaining weeks. A big ask.
Solutions1. Setting the bar too high? Test and see OpenLearn is
rapid response environment for developing approaches to elearning.
2. Detractors? Development of IMS Global Open Badge Extensions for Education.
3. Still scant research and almost no empirical data.4. Will continue to mix new and repurposed content;
identify at module specification where possible. 5. Quality of learning experience assured through
academic authoring and critical readership. As with MOOCs and other OpenLearn courses.
6. Assessment expertise developed, but remains a challenge.
A mechanism to engage with partners
The future of digital badging at the OU
In 2016Succeeding in postgraduate study Digital scholarship
Working in the voluntary sector Resilience and flexibility
Returning to STEM Commercial communication and negotiation
Succeeding in a digital world Leadership and followership
Cyber security Understanding business structures
Supporting student preparedness as inductionSupport learner CPDBOCs on the OU Student Record and HEARPromoted by lecturers and University careers advisorsHighly impactful outreach mechanism
Succeed with maths Parts 1 &2 Succeed with learning
Introducing the voluntary sector English: skills for learning
Taking your first steps into HE Succeed in the workplace