“Being rewarded is a powerful extensive motivator” (Blackboard). Learning Management Systems provide learning tool interoperability (LTI) that rewards and recognizes student achievement through digital badging. “Badges, a form of micro-credentialing, provide a means to recognize and showcase evidence of acquisition of specific skills” (Zucker & Hicks, 2019, 114). Additionally, “badges often employ principles of gamification, which an encourage competition” (Zucker & Hicks, 2019, p. 114). Badges can also be used to assess students and replace the traditional method of providing a grade. With badges students see achievement of skills. For example, creating badges for levels of competency throughout a course. Badges can be specifically designed to match learning outcomes for the courses.
Blackboard achievements allows instructors to “create opportunities for students to earn recognition for their work” (Blackboard). Rather than students focusing on a letter grade to assess their demonstration of competency, a badge creates an authentic and effective method to recognize skill achievement. There are several badging platforms and they can be viewed on Badges Wiki. Choosing the most appropriate badging platform and icons is important. Badges can be viewed privately or shared publicly with other users within Blackboard or on social media.
When using a digital badge system, faculty can create specific structured paths assigning badges to each level within that particular path. This allows for student-centered approach and the student is invited into their education by choosing the path they are most interested in. Each badge would include information on how to earn the badge. Instructors can create badges with specific deadlines for students to achieve them or can balance high achievers and low achievers by creating badges that can be obtained throughout the course and low achievers can still reach level 1-2 while high achievers might go after Levels 4-5. Students express varying experiences and perspectives related to how much they learned from online courses. Some students barely read course material and respond at the lowest level, while other students read thoroughly, add in-depth discussion responses, and seek to master the content by the end of the course. Badges will allow students to determine the level they wish to achieve and how much work it will take to achieve that level.
Zucker, L., & Hicks, T. (2019). Alternative Assessments, Unintended Consequences: The Promise and Peril of Digital Badges. Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship & Pedagogy, 29(1), 113–123. https://doi.org/10.1353/tnf.2019.0008