Design Principles for Motivating Learning with Digital Badges

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


  • 7/30/2019 Design Principles for Motivating Learning with Digital Badges


    Design Principles for Motivating Learning

    with Digital Badges


    View Comments

    Author: Katerina Schenke

    Posted: 6/5/2013 - 10:28pm

    Topics: HASTAC Scholars,Connected


    Tags: #dmlbadges #openbadges


    Similar Content

    Digital Badge Design Principles for

    Recognizing Learning

    The Transcendent Potential of

    Digital Badges and Paradigm Shifts

    in Education

    Initial Consequences of the DML

    2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning


    Some Things About Assessment that

    Technology is Changing

    Open Badges and the Future of


    This post is cross-posted atRemediating Assessment

    Katerina Schenke, Cathy Tran, & Daniel Hickey

    This post introduces the emerging design principles formotivating

    learning with digital badges. This is the third of four posts that will

    introduce the Design Principles Documentation Projects emerging

    design principles around recognizing, assessing, motivating and studyinglearning.

    Motivation is described as the initiation or sustainment of engagement of

    a particular task. Badges are thought to motivate students to complete

    tasks, learner more deeply, and make good decisions about what to learn

    next. Badges may also motivate communities to work together towards

    shared learning outcomes.

    While a systematic study of the motivational impacts of badging has yet to

    be conducted, we can make educated guesses as to what the effects of

    badges might be. Using our background in the field of motivation, we

    documented the badging practices of the DML awardees that appear

    likely to impact student motivation. This means that any practice we

    believed could affect students initiating or persisting in a task was

    documented as a motivational practice. It is important to note that we

    consider not only the motivation related to learning o utcomes associated

    with badges but also to learners buy-in of the badge system.

    Badge Design Principles for Motivating Learning

    After we id entified the pra ctices in each o f the p rojects, we clustered the m

    into more general principles. Below are the principles weve derived.

    Because the practices were mostly inferred rather than explicitly

    articulated by the projects, we have not attempted to determine which

    practices were most prevalent. As such, these principles are ordered for

    coherence rather than prevalence.

    Providing privileges: The privileges provided to learners for their badge

    collection are important to dissect because different types of privileges

    and their contingencies affect motivation. For example, learners can get a

    prize for acquiring a badge, be provided new activities, be awarded a role

    as a peer mentor, and even be given access to internships. Making note

    of what kinds of privileges are granted as a result of receiving badges can

    orient learners to the next task that they choose. For example, if the

    privilege granted for earning a badge is not associated with something

    the learner values, he or she is unlikely to engage or persist in the activity

    associated with earning that badge.

    Recognizing identities: Some projects use badges to recognize learners

    identities in some way. For example, badges can recognize a learners

    role within the badging system such as recognizing their specialization in

    journali sm, engine ering, or pee r mentori ng. Badge s can also re cognize

    learners identities by being incorporated into badge projects that

    themselves target specific groups.

    Engaging with communities:Some learners are able to earn badges for

    About Katerina Schenke

    Katerina Schenke is a

    doctoral student at the

    University of California,

    Irvine specializing in

    Learning, Cognition, and Development.


    Read more

    Popular tags



    humanitiesdigital media and learningcompetition DMLbadgeseducationgamesHASTACHASTAC Scholarshistoryhumanities learningMozillapedagogysocialmediatechnologytwitter

    Home About Members Organizations Subscribe Help Login Contact

    Join HASTAC
  • 7/30/2019 Design Principles for Motivating Learning with Digital Badges


    their involvement in their communities both at the physical and digital

    level. Badges that are awarded for involvement in the local physical

    community typically award learners for interacting with members in their

    community. Projects also recognize learners involvement in digital

    communities by granting badges to learners who interact with people

    online. Engagement in the community can be seen to promote students

    motivation to continue on activities because learners are relating to


    Display badges to the public:Thanks to Mozillas Open Badges

    Infrastructure, badge earners in most projects can decide if and when to

    publicly display badges they are currently working on or have earned.

    Some projects give earners the option of displaying badges themselves,

    while other projects automatically display badges for learners. We know

    from the motivation literature that providing choice makes learners feel

    more autonomous (in control), and that different levels of choice have

    implications for motivation. However, displaying badges to the public may

    induce competition among badge earners, which may or may not be

    adaptive. Competition is likely to more adaptive when earners feel a

    sense of autonomy.

    Outside value of badges: Some projects integrate practices to give

    badges value outside of the badge system. These include having badges

    count as academic or course credit, showing badges to outside agencies,

    and/or documenting the link between the badges and real life

    applications of knowledge. If badges are perceived as being useful

    outside of the system, learners might be more inclined to take up the

    badge system and continue with it.

    Setting goals: Badges allow for learners to set goals and visualize the

    previous goals that theyve accomplished. Badge systems can use goal

    setting in many different ways. For example, user-created badges where

    learners have to plan what kind of badge they earn and how they earn it is

    one way to encourage goal setting. Other projects display the progressive

    goal trajectory through which learners follow, and some even allow the

    users to determine that trajectory.

    Collaboration: Though several projects allow for collaborative efforts,

    some make a concerted effort to encourage this through awarding group

    badges for group accomplishments as well as personal badges for having

    a role in a group collaboration. By awarding badges at the group level,

    learner motivation to collaborate and complete tasks is thought to allow

    learners to relate more to others and perceive the task in a different way

    than without the element of collaboration.

    Competition: Scarcity of badges and use of a point system are two ways

    that we have seen projects contribute to competition among badge

    earners. We know from the motivation literature that some types of

    learners strive in competitive environments and others do not.

    Evolving requirements for badges: Few projects execute this practice of

    changing the requirements to get a particular badge. Requiring learners

    to complete different tasks for the same badge could pique their interest

    continuing to use the badge system.

    Recognizing different outcomes: This principle gets at a central goal of

    our project. The type of learning that a badge recognizes and the way that

    recognition is managed has profound implications for motivation. The

    principles for recognizing learning across projects are summarized in this

    previous post. The recognition practices fall into two broad categories that

    are defined by the prior research literature. Some badges are awarded for

    meeting some criterion (performance-based), while other badges are

    awarded for engaging in some activity (effort-based). The prior research

    suggests that these two types of badges are likely to have very different

    consequences for motivation. Additionally, these distinctions are likely to

    interact with other project features in complicated ways. For example,

    public display of badges described above is likely to have different

    consequences for performance-based than for effort-based badges.

    Additionally, many pro jects inclu de ba dges that are intended to recogn ize

    more social and participatory forms of learning. Motivation researchers

    are just beginning to explore this type of learning. It seems likely that

    recognition of social learning will operate very differently in effort-based

    versus performance-based contexts. We are working hard to sort out
  • 7/30/2019 Design Principles for Motivating Learning with Digital Badges


    these complicated relationships across different badge functions. An

    important initial insight is that the type and nature of recognition is often

    determined by the broader context of the project, meaning that badge

    designers may not have any say over the learning that their badges need

    to recognize.

    Utilizing different types of assessments: Like the previous principle,

    this principle highlights how other project factors will impact motivation. A

    previous post detailing the assessment principles across projects is

    located here. While some assessment decisions are constrained by

    recognition decisions, most projects have a lot of latitude in how they

    assess learning. This is good because the type of assessment has

    significant consequences for motivation. For example, having an expert

    versus a computer conducting the assessment communicates different

    expectations to the learner. Knowing that your peers are assessing you is

    very different than knowing a computer is assessing you. While the

    majority of the projects use peer assessment, a handful also use expert

    judgment and self-assessment. Many projects comb ine d ifferent types of


    Feedback and Next Steps

    We would love to hear back from project team members and other

    interested parties regarding these principles. As we state, these practices

    were most inferred based on our knowledge of the motivation research

    literature. People whose theories of motivation are different than ours are

    certain to come up with different practices and principles. We have tried to

    use language and ideas that resonate with the people who are designing

    and using badge systems. We welcome any and all suggestions.

    It is beyond the scope of our project to study the motivational

    consequences of badging practices in specific projects. We hope that

    these principles will help initiate and organize efforts from projects, and

    then help us share those research designs and finding across projects

    and with the broader public. The next p...


View more >