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Badges: A Common Currency for Learning


Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning Volume 46, Number 1, ISSN 0009-1383


Digital Badges--icons that can represent skills and achievements at a more fine-grained level than a degree--give colleges and universities a new way to document learning outcomes and to map the pathways students follow to earn a degree. They also provide a common currency to denote learning outcomes and give employers a visual representation and evidence of an applicant's skills and abilities. Badges, unlike degrees, can capture and show granular details that the broader view represented by a degree cannot. The question then becomes whether a badge system and a degree can be combined to illustrate what a person knows and can do. The idea seems to be catching on. Badges are now in use or in development at institutions such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California-Davis and Seton Hall. Organizations outside of higher education are issuing badges, too, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Departments of Veterans Affairs and Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and animated film icon Disney-Pixar.


Bowen, K. & Thomas, A. (2014). Badges: A Common Currency for Learning. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 46(1), 21-25. Retrieved December 2, 2020 from .

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