Digital, Badges, Badging, Micro-credentials, Assessment, Evaluation, Educational Technology, Criteria, Standards, Qualitative
Dr. Richard West created and implemented the Educational Technology (ED TEC) badging program for the Brigham Young University’s Instructional Psychology and Technology “Technology for Teachers” course (IPT 286) in 2012 with the following objectives:
1. to allow IPT 286 students to customize their instruction to better accommodate the diversity of interests and department emphases of the students taking the class,
2. to motivate higher achievement through increased student engagement, and
3. to provide a resource for IPT 286 students to continue professional development and learn additional technologies beyond what is required of them in the course.
The IPT 286 badging program (badges or badging) is a layered system of micro-credentials designed to incentivize and reward students for mastering specialized technology skills useful to secondary education teachers. After three years of implementation, this evaluation seeks to inform West, and the other IPT 286 instructors, about student perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the badging program for IPT 286 as currently implemented.
This evaluation uncovered the following three, main findings:
1. Like water, students seek the easiest path. While students appreciated being able to customize their own instruction, the singular criteria of those earning badges was how easy they felt the badges were to earn, rather than how valuable they would be based on their major or personal interests.
2. Students who believe, achieve. Students who believed that badges would become a recognized and valued credential in their future professional community completed their assignments at a higher standard, and even expressed a desire to “upgrade” to higher levels of badges after graduating. Students with little hope that badges would become a valuable professional credential were unmotivated to engage beyond minimum course requirements. The letter grade in the class was their motivation.
3. If you build It, they will come. Students unanimously agreed that badges would be a preferred alternative to traditional professional development systems if well accepted by their professions generally. They are not currently motivated to engage with the badging program after completing the course unless and until the badges become an officially recognized and accepted professional development credential.
The key recommendations, based on these findings, aimed to better achieve the stated objectives are as follows:
1. Initiate a basic marketing campaign to be used by IPT 286 instructors to promote badging among their students.
2. Better prepare IPT 286 Instructors and Teaching Assistants to present badging to their students on the first day of class.
3. Require students of certain majors to earn the badges developed for those majors.
4. To earn an A grade in the course, students must earn at least one main IPT badge of their choice.
5. Create a video vignette designed to provide students with instruction and vision of the benefits of badging.
6. Increase hiring principals’ awareness of what our badging program can offer them by creating an informative webpage.
7. Capture badge perceptions of student opinion leaders regarding their opinion of the value of the ED TEC badges for future hires and subsequently present students the positive findings by some easy to understand method such as a video.
8. Work with state boards to allow badging to count towards teachers’ required professional development hours.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Tanner, B. B. (2016). Are Badges Working? Student Perceptions of the IPT 286 Badging Program. Unpublished doctoral project manuscript, Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Retrieved from https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/ipt_projects/24
David O. McKay School of Education
Instructional Psychology and Technology
Master's Project or PhD Project
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Additional Project Information
Doctor Richard West at BYU's IP&T department has continued the research agenda. For further information about the topic, contact him at email@example.com.