1. Open production, badges as motivator: Does the source of a given badge (or the issuer) affect users’ motivation to earn that badge? (e.g. a badge from a university vs. a badge from a random individual)

2. Open production, badges as pedagogical tool: With an open supply of badges, how can learners and other stakeholders find available badges, determine the pedagogic quality of a badge in terms of the skills and knowledge that are to be learned, the suitability of the learning activities, and the support available from others to earn the badge?

3. Open production, badges as credential: How important is the source of the badge to an employer or other interested party wishing to appraise the knowledge/skills acquired by the learner? What will it take for badges to gain credibility and status as credentials among learners and other interested parties?

4. Open access, badges as motivator: Would a badge that is widely visible (e.g. an open badge) have different motivational effects on a learner compared to a badge that is less visible (e.g. internal, not shared)?

5. Open access, badges as pedagogical tool: How can learners access support and feedback as they go through the learning that will lead to the badge? Does openness influence the available sources of this support (e.g. more peers) or might closed systems (e.g. a formal course) ensure access to support?

6. Open access, badges as credential: How might visibility and transparency of badges (e.g. the issuer, what the badge communicates, etc.) influence the effectiveness of a badge as a credible credential?

7. Open appropriation, badges as motivator: To what extent would a badge have different meanings and engender different motivations on the part of learners, educators and stakeholders assessing the badge?

8. Open appropriation, badges as pedagogical tool: Where learners are constructing their own learning pathways, how can they be supported in making decisions about which badges are an appropriate next step, given their current skills and knowledge, and their cultural context?

9. Open appropriation, badges as credential: How could different populations and communities re-appropriate and re-define the meaning of a given badge as credential? How can learners be confident that the badges they pursue will be acceptable as a credential to outside stakeholders?


There are “instances where openness and badges are highly contradictory, such as at the intersection of open production and the use of badges as a pedagogical tool,” note the authors, and there are “instances where openness and badges are strong complements, such as the positive relationship between open access and badges becoming widely recognized as a credential.”

The report concludes by emphasizing that through the considerations of these nine questions, better development of design could occur, as well as avoiding possible pitfalls in higher-ed.

For more in-depth data on this framework, read the full report here.

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