Teaching and Learning

FOCUS Community Badges for Engagement and Learning

Badges are helping FOCUS find out how staff engages in their ongoing learning program.

Badgr Team

February 5, 2017

Open Badges can enhance an assortment of competency recognition, professional development, and can reinforce values. The use of badges is broadly understood to recognize certification, training or other competencies. But, badges are flexible and can recognize any achievement important to a community, which includes types of engagement that have not always been understood as high-value credentials.

Badges not only recognize formal learning, but can also help to describe a person’s interests or passion about a given subject and, when combined, they can describe a level of commitment that a single point in time high-value badge may not. These “community badges” can make up an important part of a learner’s overall portfolio.

Because of their visual medium and ability to be displayed on profiles, Open Badges offer an opportunity to get playful with how members of a community can engage with learning content and tokens of recognition.

One great example of fun badges deployed within a formal learning environment comes from FOCUS, who began using Open Badges by adding the Badgr app to their Canvas courses in April 2016. This organization is a large non-profit, campus outreach that encourages college students to grow their relationship with the Catholic faith. The badge program was implemented to support engagement and reinforce values, without the need for testing.

With a relatively small number of classes, FOCUS has awarded over 2111 badges in less than one year.

Since most of their employees are fresh out of college, they wanted to limit the amount of assessment they do, while encouraging self-reporting that didn’t feel like testing. Open Badges were the means for them to collect the data they need.

On the back end, Badgr lets the Formation and Training team see where the organization is as a whole; we can find out what’s popular, where people are behind, and which teams or groups are most engaged. It helps us see whether our training is really working or not! -Kerry Floyd, FOCUS

The people at FOCUS created some fun badges to motivate and gamify employee learning activities. Many of their badge award activities follow along with Catholic faith activities, such as learning bible stories and reading. We’ve included a few fun examples from FOCUS’ badging program.

Tell us your badging story! How have you implemented your badging program? Does your badging program serve to motivate, measure or track progress? How has your program changed now that you use badges?