Research · Editorial

Digital Badges and COVID-19: Enhancing assessments

Students in hall

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the need for immediate, innovative solutions to improve assessments.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Open University have worked with partners in India to identity and implement instances where IET's expertise in digital badges can be used to support learning and teaching across the country.

As an innovative pedagogy which has not been widely implemented in the region, Digital Badges can used in completely digital or blended capacities to recognise people's achievement, knowledge and skills in a trusted and certifiable way.

In continued work with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and other partners across India to progress Teacher Professional Development, the OU has collaborated with policy makers, educational agencies and organisations throughout the pandemic to explore the benefits of virtual learning environments in order to help teachers gain knowledge, skills and qualification in online teaching.

Digital assessments are a central component of this, providing teachers, teaching-related staff and students with the flexibility to be tested in a remote or blended capacity.

Discussing how assessments can be advanced with digital badges and digital certificates, Dr Simon Cross, Senior Lecturer at IET and Project Lead of the Digital Badges project, shared:

"One of the challenges in such a context like India is getting recognition of practice."

"There are assessments and exams, but its very difficult to get recognition for changing practice and recognition of good practice for practicing teachers."

"As Digital Badges are a very flexible form of assessment, one of the ways we can see badges being implemented and be very useful it to fill a gap in professional recognition in classroom teaching.

"What we see is that the technology for Digital Badges is capable of being suitable to how the pandemic has impacted society. The need on the ground to do something has really been the driver to accelerate these technologies such as digital badges, and use that to a mutual advantage."

In the process of supporting an educational organisation to implement assessment with digital badges, it is essential to have a functional Virtual Learning Environment for users to track their progress, measure their development and gain the certification for their professional development.

Along with the benefits for tracking and awarding TPD, a functional VLE system can allow for teachers and teaching staff to benefit from peer rating of practice, the sharing of best practice and learning from experiences as well as localised assessment from a trusted individuals such as headteachers.

Keep up to date with the Digital Badges project on the project page. To find out more about Digital Badges about how they can advance your TPD, contact our experts.