Exploratory Study: Digital Badging

Terry McGovern
InSITE 2020  •  2020  •  pp. 185-204

To inform educational stakeholders about of the emerging digital educational badging technology, the industry, and how it applies to adult learning.

An overview of the developing badging system, concepts, key terminology, advantages, challenges, and examples of badge utilization.

Exploratory study.

Makes known how the current state of the badging system, its fit with adult learning theories, its features, its issues, and offers avenues for future research.

Digital badges align well with adult learning theories. Badges can improve adult student access to higher education, aid in reducing credential fraud, increase granularity of academic records, and allow for more personalized learning. The challenges include a crowded badging platform market and concerns with the value proposition of badges by employers.

Before an organization engages in a badging strategy for adult learners, it needs to understand the badging system to include the advantages and challenges of this rapidly growing practice.

Understand the badging system, how adult learning theories apply to digital badging, and the research needs associated with this developing credential.

Badging marks a shift in how we think about formal human development; from institution-centric and bounded to learner-centric and unbounded.

Most current research involves motivational impacts on K-12 learners. This article highlights the need for more research regarding impact of badges on adult learning is needed.

badges, open badges, badging, access to higher education, transcript ambi-guity, credential-fraud, open pathways, badge challenges
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