Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Open Badges, LRMI and OER

Over the last few months I have immersed myself in Open Badges. As I explore this technology I can't help but reflect upon my past experiences as an educational technologist, software developer, OER content creator, project lead and solutions architect. And yes, all these apply as I fold LRMI into the mix. My reflection points include;
  • Open Badges as educational resources
  • I believe that the criteria and evidence attributes of an open badge can also be learning resources. I see the badge as the destination, where the criteria and evidence are the learning journey. Exploring a badges criteria and, many earners, evidence can provide valuable learning resources.
  • Everything online is an OER for the independent learner
  • I've spoken about this for years... the Internet is the platform and as an independent self directed learner all Internet resources should be considered educational resources. Particularly, when you consider fair-dealing / fair-use.
  • LRMI is an important standard for educational resources
  • Great search results increase access to learning resources. The faster you can get to the resource, the better. Particularly, if the resource is close to within the learning context you are working. LRMI is going to help greatly with increasing access to educational resources, especially when search facets allow for resource exploration clustered around a search term (or context).
  • The vocabulary is as important as the schema
  • The vocabulary populates some of the fields of the LRMI schema. These fields describe the resources user role, type, etc. Take a look at the LRMI specification if you want more. Having a consistent and well thought-out vocabulary will help greatly in putting learning resources into context. It is the vocabulary that will classify resources and allow the building of search facets.
So how do I see Open Badges, LRMI and OER working together?
  • The OER should include metadata to increase searchability (LRMI works well here). OER should also be referenced within a course outline, learning challenge, book, course material, badge criteria, etc, etc...
  • OER search results should provide a listing of learning resources, assessment resources, and accreditation resources (open badges works here). The search facets should cluster around subject domains, themes, keywords, available taxonomies, etc. The facets should also include assessment and accreditation resources related to the keywords / subject domain of the search.
  • The criteria and evidence resources found within the json attributes of the open badges specification should point to educational resources and it should become a best practice to embed LRMI within these resources. 
  • The LRMI vocabulary should include "badge" as a learningResourceType. This would also assist in building the search facets. The badge, and its criteria and evidence, also needs to expose this attribute to be picked up by search indexing.