Digital Badges - Dec 1-15, 2012

TASK 6 (Dec 9th): Compare and contrast badge systems

TASK 6 (Dec 9th): Compare and contrast badge systems

by Peter Rawsthorne -
Number of replies: 3

TASK 6 (Dec 9th): Compare and contrast badge systems

Before we jump into the technology behind the badges I'd like people to consider the plethora of badge systems that already exists.

13. Compare and contrast traditional badge systems

Take a good look at the badge systems for both scouting and the martial arts. How are these badge systems similar? How do they differ? Where is the entry point for beginning? Is there a badge (belt) for beginning? What about the top end? Could one system end with having completed all the badges? Does one system have the ability to continue to grow?

14. Compare and contrast digital badge systems

How many different digital badge systems exist? Are they all in the learning realm? Or are badge being issued for non-learning tasks? Could these non-learnig badges be folded into a greater personal curriculum? Are some of the digital badge systems focused on peer-learning and communities of practice?

For more insight into this question feel free to visit a recent blog post;

In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: TASK 6 (Dec 9th): Compare and contrast badge systems

by Margot Croft -

Compare/Contrast traditional badge systems

Like the cumulative aspect of the scouting badges.  As well, as I remember, there are a variety of 'ground floor' badges so multiple entry points.  Conversely, martial arts is prescriptive in where one starts, and the path is linear.  That said, the various dans of the black belt are a nice option. 

Compare/contrast digital badges

Liked how the example of digital badges made at Tuesday's webinar built on the martial art model as progression is very tangible which appeals to lots of learners, and would likely help folks understand better when presented with a badge collection of what level the 'badge-ee' was at (if that makes sense). 

Indeed, the variety of badges out there is interesting--though not sure what may be meant by non-learning tasks.  I see some badges as more recreational rather than academic, but both are valid learning experiences.  Badges that require peer evaluation, too, are cool.  It's one thing to answer a set of questions correctly and achieve some hands on stuff, but the added weight of positive peer review can lend a stronger sense of achievement to a badge. 

And badges of all types tend to support a community.  I think to travelling days when folks had Canadian flags stitched to backpacks.  That symbol had meaning for other travellers as well as locals.  Too, consider gang colours/patches and the communities of practice to which they allude.  Thus, there is meaning for the badge holder as a member of a community, and meaning for an observer.



In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: TASK 6 (Dec 9th): Compare and contrast badge systems

by John Dumbrille -

13. Compare and contrast traditional badge systems

The badge systems diverge greatly, possibly because of their cultural origins, but demographic factors are probably more key. The scout system is built for a relatively short period of early or middle years; the martial arts system is built to support long term engagement, where the long term students can potentially become the supervisors, the leaders, and ultimately, the owners.

The badges in scouts are attainment based, and are if linked, e.g. a badge as a prerequiste to another badge, these badge groupings reach dead ends.

The badges in martial arts are grade based, and represent a breadcrumb to the highest attainment. One enters with a grade (blank). The martial arts badge system reinforces a contiguous classification system for participants.

Both are appropriate: the boy scouts system reinforces belonging and togetherness as primary values; the most important badge is arguably the boy scout club. The martial arts sytem also reinforces ethical norms, but has a more rigrous emphasis on personal mastery and attainment. Class is highly visible and one's class brings with it more sophisticated checks and balances  in terms of responsibilities. It is a more adult, more sophisticated class system, if you like, with an more adult, economic basis: testing fees typically escalate as the participant progresses.

Each system - the more flat system of competency badges, and the linear system of contiguous, classified levels of attainment - can be limitless:

  • Newer competencies can be discovered and tested in a scout-type system, and finer levels of distinction can be identified.
  • In the linear system, it is harder and harder to get to the next level. Most difficult to "end" is the black belt Dan system. 

Both systems convert trainees into trainers, but there is a limit to how much of a leader a 15 year old can be. As a marital artist one is tested to be a much more mature leader, even to the point of being capable of leading a school. The training required to get new Dan badges is extensive; in most cases, prohibitively so. Although the road lies ahead, one rests.