Invited Talk

Digital Badges and Learning Design for teacher professional development

Research Seminar Series, Centre for Education Innovation and Action Research | Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India | 18th July 2019

In this presentation I will ask how open digital badges can reward and evidence improvements in classroom practice and pedagogic competencies, help engage teachers in professional development, and support the planning of future learning. He will first present an overview of recent research undertaken at the Institute of Educational Technology at the OU focusing on three areas: assessment practice and feedback, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and Learning Design and analytics. He will also review the successes of the TESS-India programme, a multi-award-winning initiative that aims to strengthen and transform professional development and classroom practice in India by providing practical, localised and scalable Open Educational Resources that emphasise participatory child-centred pedagogy.

In the second part of the presentation, Simon will build on these themes and discuss what digital badges are, how they have been used, and their potential roles in teaching and learning. Digital badges are visual representations of skills, accomplishments, status, activity, identity, or qualities. Badges are often merely seen as another form of digital micro-credit, however, the presentation will explore other uses of digital badges such as to: strengthen student motivation, promote deeper learning experiences, make learning outcomes more visible, help earners understand and value their achievements, build confidence, and set goals. Badges can give greater control to the earner – for example in this case the teacher or teacher educator - in respect to what is learnt, in what order, and how this learning is managed and represented in public.

Effective use of badges requires a badging scheme, which in turn requires careful design. A Learning Design approach such as that developed at the Open University, UK can support this process. This approach can help educators understand the connections between learning outcomes, learning activity and assessment of (and for) learning. Simon will conclude by outlining a new project that seeks to better understanding potential roles for digital badges in supporting teacher professional development in India.