Friday, June 07, 2013

Does a badge stand on it's own?

This post sets out to describe what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses of one row from within the Badge System Design Rubric found within the P2Pu challenge of the same name. The row I have chosen to evaluate is dedicated to a badge systems criteria.

What is badge criteria: Each badge stands on its own, or is it a part of a larger learning, achievement or recognition journey. The objective is well represented in the badge or collective badge system criteria. The criteria provides flexibility so a badge can be reused in different learning, achievement or recognition contexts. The badge criteria accommodates for its potential expiration.
I believe an individual badge or badge system should be able to stand on its own. This is so it can be used across contexts. This strengthens the design of the badge and sets the badge or badge system for greater reuse. The criteria of the badge system needs to be well articulated and easily understood so people quickly know what they are working toward. I believe the badge criteria should be written in such a way that it is timeless or recognizes its expiration. If a badge does expire it should still accommodate for its assertion (validation).
Introductory badge criteria: The criteria to earn the badge is well articulated and easily understood. Criteria attribute within badge meta-data resolves to URL.
These are simple criteria to meet, and as an introductory badge gets someone to completing the design quickly. What is the outcome for earning the badge, well written and easy to understand, with a working URL. What else do you need to get started?

Working badge criteria: The criteria to earn the badge is comprehensive in that it describes different learning, achievement or recognition approaches, associated tasks and outcomes. The criteria has one or more examples or completions for reference.
The working criteria looks to be complete and has accommodated for different approaches to achievement, assessment or learning. The working criteria doesn't restrain the approaches used to create evidence toward earning the badge. Examples of how the badge was earned are easily found and understood.

Notable badge criteria: The criteria allows the badge to stand on its own, fit within the system it has been developed, and can be used within other badge systems. Criteria seems timeless in that it is constructed and worded in such a way that it does not expire. 
I like that the badge can also be used in other learning contexts and within other badge systems. One of the benefits of badges is to also reduce the duplication of accreditation for the same subjects. The design and wording of the badge should be timeless, I believe this would cause the badge to be more transferable and work well in other badge systems. This does not mean that a badge cannot expire, it just means criteria should be designed and written without an expiry type vocabulary.
Exemplary badge criteria: The criteria fits well within multiple learning, achievement or recognition contexts and applies well across communities, events, curriculum and cultures. The learning context may change and the criteria still applies. The criteria is developed and written in such a way that it is timeless; earning the badge more than once through time makes sense. The badge criteria does not expire.
If a badge or badge system could be used across contexts (in particular, across cultural contexts) and meet or exceed the previous three performance levels it should be considered exemplary.  The badge criteria should not expire. Unless, it makes sense for a badge to expire; or have a renewal cycle where skills, knowledge, learnings, and/or attendance needs to occur through time.
Strength: I believe the main strength of this criteria is in describing a badge or badge system that stands on its own. I believe it is important that any badge can be used across contexts and become a part of another badge system.

Opportunity: I believe there is an opportunity to improve the description (with working examples) of how a badge or badge system can be used across contexts. I also believe that there are times where a badge should not be used across contexts and it would dilute the badge to design it so it could be used across contexts.