Badge Taxonomy – Badge Alliance consultation overview

Let me start by making it clear that I have not personally been involved with the Badge Alliance working groups. As an impartial observer I am free to congratulate them on the progress they have made. The report on the first cycle of consultation is at http://www.badgealliance.org/blog/celebrating-our-successes-an-overview-of-cycle-1/

Having posted in the past on badge taxonomy I was particularly interested in their comments on that. Under Badges for Educators & Professional Development the working group made the following recommendation:

[To]…Loosely standardize a set of badge types. This would not dictate the content of the badge (i.e. assessment), but the class of badges or the general type of activity/assessment it represents. This would help educators, administrators and employers more easily anticipate the value or weight of various badges, and ensure some commonalities in experience across different badge systems.

Potential examples:

◦Participation/Attendance – a badge for attending a conference or seminar, participating in an online community or event. No assessment other than proof of attendance/participation.

◦Skill – a badge representing a distinct skill. Assessment is tied to demonstration of that skill.

◦Achievement – a badge representing a completed set of activities or a set of skills. May have a number of skill badges that ‘stack’ to an achievement badge, or unlock access to it. Assessment involves demonstration of the sub-activities or skills, and perhaps some expression of the cumulative learning.

◦Specialty – a badge representing an interest area, area of training or skill set. Assessment is most likely tied to demonstration of the sub-skills, but also includes evidence from educator’s own experiences and approaches.

◦Peer/Social – a badge representing qualities or skills, awarded peer-to-peer. Assessment is peer review/recognition.

◦Community – a badge representing behaviors, values and roles within a particular community. Badges are defined and issued by members of that community to reflect values, behaviors and roles that are important to them.

These categories are more refined and expanded than my initial definitions. I do have a couple of comments though.

In my taxonomy I used the term “mission” badges where the badge alliance have referred to “achievement” badges. I still prefer the term mission badge, as it speaks to me more of engaging in a process or journey to achieve the badge. To me an achievement is more suggestive of a ‘one off’, and I reserved that term for badges that mark specific achievements, such as breaking sports records etc. On the other hand these are just names, would a rose by any other name smell any less sweet?

I like the idea of the community badge, participation badge and the specialty badge.

Overall I congratulate the badge alliance on their work and I encourage you to read through all the recommendations.

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