Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Badge Clustering

As my digital badges seminar series came to an end I was doing a lot of thinking about badge clustering and what I meant by the term. With a little creative thinking, and some fun, I borrowed and edited three clustering terms and applied them to badges.

Badge Cluster
noun, epistemology:
A bunch of badges (ranging in number from a few to hundreds) which are bound to each other by their mutual knowledge domain as defined by the badge earner.

Open Cluster
noun, epistemology.
a comparatively young, irregularly shaped group of badges, often numbering up to ten to one hundred, and held together by and active learning journey; usually found associated with people who are gaining new knowledge where new ideas are forming on a regular basis. As the open cluster grows domain mastery increases.

Globular Cluster
noun, epistemology.
a comparatively older, spherically symmetrical, compact group of up to a few hundred badges, held together by a shared knowledge domain, that are located in the earners digital badge repository. Globular clusters are often stable with few new badges being added. In general, they show a mastery of a subject domain.

What is a Badge Cluster?
Badge clustering happens as a badge earner groups their badges into knowledge clusters as defined by themselves (the badge earner). This provides an approach for people to deepen their learning through grouping knowledge in ways that make the most sense to them. It also provides visual queues or information organization to identify gaps or holes in their self-directed study. Badge clusters can be compared to personal curriculum maps to identify the gaps in their learning.

Mozilla digital backpack as a badge repository.
Why badge clustering will be important?
As learners gather more badges into their digital badge repositories they will organize the badges into groups for a variety of purposes. The groupings will be for;
  • display purposes
  • setting public and private display
  • identifying personal knowledge domains
  • achievement towards a learning goal
  • inspiring others toward similar (yet personalized) learning journeys
  • organizing badges into micro and macro badges
With the correct number of badge endorsements, badge assertions, verified badge criteria, confirmed evidence, and the ability to analyze a cluster of badges against a known knowledge domain we could get to a persons completed learning efforts being assessed towards the mastery of an identified knowledge domain. I dream!