Bootstrapping Badges

This week for me has included some reading on badges (building up to an EMA), and I couldn’t resist penning a few informal words on the way.

Firstly well done Mozilla on a brilliant job “bootstrapping” OpenBadges. Secondly Huzzah! to OU for being innovative and giving me a  chance to get my first few.

I appreciated the honesty of the OLDSMOOC folk “….none of us are very sure what the impact of using badges will be…but we have thought carefully about the approach we have used“.  The post-course evaluation has some interesting comments on badges (from  17 respondents) some enjoying the fun, some valuing the award, others seemingly patronised by the scouting overtones.  Cross (2013) tells us that the badge numbers represent 30-50% of the active course applicants.
EffortBadges
What I’ve done in the graph above is to plot the effort/engagement badges awarded for OLDSMOOC (their blue badges) against those awarded on H817Open. My goal was to visualise the rate of decay for both.  Of course these aren’t directly comparable (and you should never compare siblings) :

  • On H817Open the first two badges were effort (finish a task) and the last one was achievement (a task & the other two badges) – but they were evenly spread across the course.
  • H817Open had a subset of students who had paid to do the free course (and had already carved out study time).  I would have expected to see this group represented disproportionately in the badge roll call, but I don’t recognise that many H817 names.  (There again there was the small distraction of a pressing 3,000 word essay.)

I can’t conclude that much here, but I was surprised to count up the H817Open badges and see that 57 got the first badge (for Activity 7) and nearly half of these made it through to the creative reflection at the end. In post essay fatigue I certainly wouldn’t have bothered with the last activity unless some reward was involved.

If badges were an extrinsic motivator  for a subset of students I would expect the rate of decay for badge awards to be less than the overall engagement decay. hmmm I’d better stop now, this was just a minor bloggage to clear synapses for the EMA.  TBC

Cross, Simon (2013). Evaluation of the OLDS MOOC curriculum design course: participant perspectives, expectations and experiences. OLDS MOOC Project, Milton Keynes.

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