Thursday, January 31, 2013

Challenge 301 - Badge System Design

So I'm starting the development of the Badge Systems Design challenge for the School of Badges at P2Pu. In time we hope this challenge will become a part of the larger School of Badges, but a bunch of things have to happen for that to manifest.

I've been working with Badge System Design for a while now and have been involved in a number of discussions and learning communities. All of this taught me a few things about badge system design. What stands out for me is that I perceive three aspects to badge systems design;
  1. The graphical look of the badges within the whole system. This includes things like colour scheme, branding, graphics and icons, the text to display, how badges graphically relate to each other, how levelling is recognized, and a few other attributes.
  2. The network, hierarchy, or system of badges and how the badges relate to the learning or curriculum. There may be some kind of a rubric that identifies the tasks, knowledge or learning represented by each badge and the badge system as a whole.
  3. Where the badge system is going to be hosted. Is an existing free and open system going to be utilized or are you going to build your own issuing capability. This is important for you may decide that the badge system design has specific attributes toward how the badges relate to each other, or how the badge criteria and evidence needs to be hosted. Some of the attributes of your badge systems design may be restrained by how you decide to host your badge system.
Once you have all this considered and have begun to dive deeper into each of these aspects of badge system design you are going to need to loop around to that first task and see if the restraints from one of these aspects don't change the design of another aspect (as an example; the chosen hosting system doesn't support the evidence attribute of the badge). I'm looking forward to developing this challenge for the School of Badges over the next while. If you want to help out, let me know; it could be fun. Stay tuned I'll post here as things proceed and new challenge tasks are developed... to see the beginings of this challenge visit this link;

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mozilla, Agile Learning Design, and Everything else

It was an active year for my reading, research and writing (106 blog posts in 2012). I feel I learned a whole lot. I particularly like that I had an opportunity to deep dive into open and digital badges. I believe my year of learning can be broken into three main themes; First, my work with Mozilla Open Badges and Badge systems in general; Second, my further proving out an Agile Learner Design methodology; and Third, everything else I thought about.

Mozilla Foundation
Its difficult to express the gratitude I have for the time I spent on contract with the Mozilla Foundation. In the six months I spent with Mozilla I did a whole lot, and I learned a whole lot;
  • Created a lot of learning resources for on-boarding the newbie open badges user / implementer
  • Completely updated the Open Badges FAQs by reading through the related google group end-to-end
  • Went deep into Webmaking with my kids and some of the youth on Bowen Island
  • Engaged in a number of discussions on curriculum design and building communities of practice
  • Dug into some emerging open technologies like WebGL, WebRTC... and how they fit within an virtually unlimited bandwidth network
  • Played with popcorn.js and wrapped learning resources to highlight formative and summative learning events
  • Deepened my understanding in using distributed technologies to facilitate meetings and collaborative efforts. With a good understanding of the nature of the engagement the appropriate technologies and approaches can facilitate a very collaborative effort and keep a comprehensive record of the event. These records can be indexed (and therefore searchable) and used for later reference or as resources for subsequent events. All done with open and free technologies and approaches. Mozilla is very good at all this!
Agile Learner Design
My focus on an Agile Learner Design methodology for creating and determining your own curriculum got a renewed focus this year. It all started with my last post of 2011 where I revisited and summarized Agile Instructional Design. I have come to the conclusion that what I am doing isn't focused on instruction, but upon the self-directed learner. Therefore, what I am doing is developing an Agile Learner Design methodology, not an Agile Instructional Design methodology. An important distinction in the fundamental focus of the methodology. To build upon my last post of 2011 I kicked off the year by looking at some of the existing research and approaches to self-directed learning. And looked at some of the approaches that I would consider similar to ALD. I also considered some of the people and approaches within my inspired learner series of posts, because it is these inspired learners that drive me to further develop ALD.

The Agile Learner Design (ALD) Methodology
ALD Reference Materials

ALD Examples and Inspirations
Everything else
Outside of these two main themes for last years postings came everything else. And if there were any themes they would have been either community building or mobile web development.So here is a list of the other learnings / explorations I had from last year.

Online learning communities
School of Badges 
Learning Approaches
Mobile Web Development
Polling for posts

So there you have it. My 2012 in review. What I'm looking forward too in 2013;

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

P2Pu School of Badges

Thanks to the amazing graphic design work by Leah MacVie I will be taking a lot of the Mozilla Open Badges resources I have created over the last year to lead the development of a couple of challenges within P2Pu.

P2Pu School of Badges Curriculum

I will start by focusing my efforts on the 301 challenge which will have the learner explore badge system design. I will draw heavily on the materials and discussion that were a part of the two week seminar series I facilitated at the end of last year. I'd also like to encourage any and all badge system designers to help out or provide suggestions or a critical eye.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Responsibilities of Institutions

Over the last few days there has been a bunch of work taking place to describe the rights and principles of network learners. The original document was drafted by an amazing group of people, for whom I have a great deal of respect. I also have a great deal of respect for everyone who commented on and contributed to the rights and principles of networked learners. The one disappointment I have with this document is that it was written by this amazing group from the perspective of the learner (or student), and didn't focus more on the responsibilities of the institution. Don't get me wrong, I think this is an amazing piece of work and I am very happy it has been started. Given the influence this group would have, it would be great if they would also write the responsibilities of institutions and then advocated for them to be adopted by the institutions for which they work or are affiliated. If we were to have this activity from both the learner and institutional perspectives, then we would really have something!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Agile Learning and OpenBadges

I spend a lot of my personal time deepening my understanding of self-directed learning and its direct application. I'd rather walk-the-walk than talk-the-talk... and pedagogically you learn much more by walking-the-walk. Over the last eight months I have focused a lot of my learning on badge systems as a method for recognizing learning and achievement, and as an alternative method of accreditation. I have been exploring, what I consider, the four different approaches to badge systems and have utilized my Agile Learning Design (ALD) approach to direct my learning. Over the last eight months I have learned a considerable amount about this subject. And given there is yet to be a person or school that focuses on teaching about badges systems I really didn't have a choice but do it myself.

During the envisioning step of the ALD methodology you focus on a creative effort which defines what you know of a subject domain. Even if what you know starts with a single word or just the name of the subject you can still start exploring the subject and build a creative effort that defines your current knowing of the subject. With open badges I was able to read a few of the sites dedicated resources and was able to put together a concept map, and this really got me started and allowed me to set a direction for my learning.

My first concept map capturing my early understanding of open badges.

During the middle six months of 2012 I immersed myself in learning about digital badges and open badges. I wrote extensively and participated in many online events and created many online resources. All of this deepened my learning. The ALD approach helped focus my learning and assisted in identifying gaps in my knowledge. I followed an iterative learning approach and studied concepts as identified in my concept map and as they became apparent through my reading, investigation and peer feedback. My learning journey occurred as follows;

The first few steps of my learning journey were planning my approach and setting the context and learner perspective. The importance of this is described in the planning step of ALD.
  • Context and User Roles: This step was really important for setting the context and learner roles to define how I was looking at the learning I was about to embark upon. It really helped me understand who the learner was, and to what depth and direction I was to take my learning.
  • Learning Themes: What did I want to get out of my learning and how would I anchor my learning.
My next step in deepening my understanding was to build learning resources. These resources covered many of the topics I had identified in my concept map and during my planning. Each resource I created added depth to my understanding of open badges.
Once the first iteration build of my learning resources was complete I sought feedback by having others use the resources. In truth, I was continually asking for feedback. As soon as a resource was built I would publish it to the internet and seek input. All very iterative, all very lean. As you can see the above resources were all published at different times and as I published I would engage my learning community and ask for input. With some resources the feedback would initiate a change for others the resource remained the same, sometimes the change would come as how the new resource was hosted or the context around the learning was changed.

The final step within this iteration of learning was to deploy the final versions of the learning resources. I chose to wrap the video resources in popcorn.js and to build a small portal to organize all the resources. This allowed further enhancement to the resources by focusing in on key learnings and also providing a listing of the embedded URL's as follow on learning resources. To view this portal visit the dedicated Bowen Institute of Technology website;

I feel I learned a lot over the last nine months regarding digital badges and open badges. The next steps to deepen and continue my learning will be;
  1. to assist others who are learning about digital badges, mostly through the following activities;
    • facilitate online workshops whenever possible
    • continue building out P2Pu School of Badges
    • answer questions regardless of where they come from
    • continue to engage the community as time permits
  2. to loop around back to the start of the ALD where I revisit my learning themes and do another deep dive into my concept map.
  3. to Plan, Build, Stabalize and Deploy another iteration of learning resources
The purpose of these activities is to celebrate all I have learned so far, expose the gaps in my knowledge regarding digital badges and open badges, create more resources for others to learn from, and refocus my learning. All good.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OnPhD: Describe your learning history

I am in the process of declaring my Open and Networked PhD (OnPhD) candidacy. After some discussion with a few like minded people, and the input from a couple of existing PhD's, it was agreed that declaring candidacy for a PhD was important. The idea of creating a P2Pu challenge for declaring OnPhD candidacy seemed like a great way to get started.

This is the blog post describing completion of the first task of the OnPhD candidacy challenge.

Informal and formal learning
Publishing and research projects